Omniverse featured image
Image courtesy: NIVIDIA

NVIDIA recently released the free version of its Omniverse software. It is available to anyone who uses a GeForce RTX or NVIDIA RTX graphics card. Since its open beta launch a year ago, almost 100,000 creators have already downloaded Omniverse. NVIDIA launched Omniverse Enterprise, the paid subscription for professional teams, in November 2021.

What is Omniverse?

NVIDIA’S Omniverse is a real-time 3D design collaboration and virtual world simulation platform. It allows artists and designers using different programs or in different locations to work together on 3D graphics projects. The platform is ideal for creating VFX or video game cinematic animations. However, engineers, architectural designers, and manufacturers may also find the helpful platform.

Centralized storage

The primary data worked on in Omniverse is stored on centralized storage. This means that a scene will update in real time when artists and designers make changes locally. Clients can also log in to the platform to see previews of the projects. Artists can then implement changes requested by their clients, and the results will show immediately.

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Connectors

Omniverse uses a file format called Universal Scene Description (USD). Plugins called Omniverse Connectors allow you to live link different 3D programs, including Maya, 3DS Max, Unreal Engine and Blender. This means that artists can each use their favorite software when working together to create a scene. In addition, an artist can work on a single model and see the whole scene update in the platform in real time. There’s no need to export the model from your program and import it into the software rendering the scene.

Nucleus Cloud

NIVDIA has also introduced some new features within Omniverse. With Omniverse Nucleus Cloud, you can use one-click-to-collaborate sharing of large Omniverse 3D scenes. This means artists can collaborate from across an office or around the world without the need to transfer massive datasets. It’s like working on a cloud-shared document, but for a 3D scene rendered in real time.

Cinematic animations

NVIDIA claims Omniverse Machinima helps you put together cinematic animations quickly and easily. It comes with free characters, objects and environments from leading video games such as Mechwarrior 5 and Shadow Warrior 3. You can drag and drop these assets into your scenes to create your own cinematics.

Facial animations

Omniverse Audio2Face is an AI facial animation tool that converts sound clips into animations for your characters’ faces. It attempts to consider the emotion or inflection of the words spoken when generating the animations.

“With this technology, content creators get more than just a fast renderer,” said Zhelong Xu, a digital artist and Omniverse Creator based in Shanghai.

Pricing and availability

Omniverse is available to download free from the NVIDIA website.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.