Motion Picture Academy's Software Foundation Begins Open-Shading Language Research Project

The open-source software is widely used for visual effects and animation.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
The open-source shading language is widely used for visual effects and animation, including on 'Spider-Man: Far From Home.'

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Software Foundation is now hosting an Open-Shading Language research project.

Initially developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Open Shading Language is an open-source (meaning publicly available) shading language widely used for visual effects and animation.

It's been tapped on at least 100 films including Spider-Man: Far From Home, The Angry Birds Movie 2, and Men in Black: International and was recognized with an Academy Scientific and Technical Award in 2017.

Also on Thursday, the organization said that AMD joined the foundation on the premier level and DockYard signed up at the general level. Members also include Autodesk, DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games and Walt Disney Studios.

Initiated by the Academy's Science and Technology Council, the foundation was started by AMPAS and The Linux Foundation in 2018 to share resources and collaborate on image creation, visual effects, animation and sound technologies.

"Over the past 10 years, Open Shading Language has grown to become a critical component of the VFX and animation ecosystem, widely used in production and embedded into several industry-standard renderers," Rob Bredow, senior vp, executive creative director and head of Industrial Light & Magic, and governing board chair of the foundation, says of the foundation's new project.

Bredow adds, "Many of our members and projects rely on and support OSL, so it's a natural fit for the foundation. We look forward to working with the OSL community and supporting the project's continued development and growth."