Universal Scene Description (USD)

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Get started developing on the Omniverse platform using the resources below.

Developer Introduction

NVIDIA Omniverse enables universal interoperability across different applications and 3D ecosystem vendors. It provides efficient, real-time scene updates and is based on open standards and protocols. The Omniverse platform acts as a hub, enabling new capabilities to be exposed as microservices to any connected clients and applications.

The following video gives an overview of Omniverse and how to develop custom tools and applications within it.

  • 00:00 – Platform overview
  • 01:25 – Technology stack
  • 03:17 – Video tutorials
  • 03:38 – Kit extension system
  • 05:16 – Extension manager
  • 05:30 – Simplest extension
  • 05:50 – Extension dependencies
  • 06:31 – Kit application
  • 06:57 – Python extension
  • 07:21 – Kit SDK samples
  • 08:36 – Omni.UI
  • 09:32 – Omni.UI documentation
  • 10:23 – Omni.UI dynamic syntax
  • 11:54 – Omni.UI graph framework
  • 12:26 – Model-view-controller pattern
  • 13:04 – Full M=model API
  • 13:18 – Example application
  • 14:01 – Important APIs – treeview widget
  • 15:24 – Important APIs – The web in kit
  • 16:24 – Important APIs – Web streaming
  • 17:50 – Nucleus-based microservices
  • 18:42 – Kit-based microservices
  • 19:01 – Omni.kit.controlport
  • 19:36 – Kit microservices with rendering
  • 20:00 – Technology preview – Quick search
  • 22:02 – Technology Ppreview – Omni.UI Inspector
  • 24:00 – Omniverse Kit recap

Now that you’ve gotten a good overview of the platform and its components, take some time to learn about Universal Scene Description (USD) which is at the center of Omniverse.

Omniverse Code

Omniverse Code

Omniverse Code is an Omniverse App that serves as an integrated development environment for developers and powers users to easily build Omniverse extensions, apps, or microservices, available for download from the Omniverse Launcher.

Omniverse Code includes Omniverse Kit software development kit (SDK) runtime, and provides the foundational tools, templates, and documentation in a simple-to-navigate interface. This makes it easier than ever to use the powerful capabilities of the Omniverse Kit SDK when developing Omniverse-based projects.

The following video provides a walkthrough of the standard configuration of Omniverse Code. It also briefly covers Omniverse Code’s core functionality, key features, and upcoming updates.

Universal Scene Description (USD)

Universal Scene Description (USD)

The fundamental representation of assets in Omniverse is Pixar’s open-source Universal Scene Description (USD). USD is a powerful framework and scene representation with an application programming interface (API) that allows complex property inheritance, instancing, layering, lazy loading, and a wide variety of other key features.

The following presentation provides a great introduction to USD, from its creation to current implementation in Omniverse, as well as many examples of industry support. Learn more in our USD documentation.

  • 02:40 – Why USD was created
  • 04:40 – Presto and TidScene
  • 06:31 – USD requirements
  • 07:27 – Hydra
  • 08:11 – Presto (Racoon example)
  • 08:48 – Presto (Dory example)
  • 09:23 – NVIDIA DRIVE example
  • 10:40 – USD is open source
  • 12:02 – SIGGRAPH 2016 demo
  • 12:57 – USD GitHub
  • 13:25 – Autodesk USD support
  • 13:50 – SideFX USD support
  • 14:34 – Unreal Engine USD support
  • 15:04 – Apple USD support
  • 16:06 – Hands-on Demo
  • 17:05 – USD resources
  • 17:32 – Jupyter notebook introduction
  • 18:55 – Creating a USD layer
  • 21:00 – Referencing and overrides
  • 22:46 – USD is at the core of Omniverse
  • 23:28 – Omniverse example
  • 24:30 – USD variants example in Omniverse
  • 25:25 – Complex example in Omniverse


Getting Started with USD for Collaborative 3D Workflows

In this self-paced course, participants will learn how to generate a scene using human-readable Universal Scene Description ASCII (.USDA) files. Upon completion, participants will be able to create their own scenes within the USD framework and will have a strong foundation to use it in applications such as Omniverse, Maya, Unity, and Unreal Engine.

There are two sections to this training:

  • USD fundamentals: An introduction to the basics of USD, no programming knowledge required.
  • Advanced USD: A demonstration of how to use Python to generate USD files.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video.

Try the course

Samples and Resources

USD scene with MDL materials rendered in Omniverse ALab USD sample scene

Animal Logic – USD ALab

The USD ALab dataset is the Animal Logic interpretation and implementation of real-world production and pipeline concepts. Three downloads are available, including textures and baked procedurals.

Download from Animal Logic

Explore more USD resources, including sample files, tutorial videos, and a collection of third-party references and guides on the NVIDIA USD page.

Consult the USD Resources

Connecting to Omniverse

Connectors Open Portals Between Apps

There are many ways to connect to the Omniverse platform. The first path is to simply import assets into Nucleus, convert them to USD, and make them available to connected applications.

The second option is to use Omniverse Drive to connect local files and use the ability of some applications to update on the fly as these files change.

Third, use bi-directional or uni-directional Omniverse Connectors, plugins that enable client applications to connect to Nucleus, and publish and subscribe to individual assets and full worlds. Depending on their fidelity, Omniverse Connectors can enable live-sync publish-subscribe collaboration abilities between connected applications.

Import and Export

Note that Omniverse Connectors for industry applications are not necessary to start using Omniverse. Popular formats can be imported or exported to and from Omniverse through application content browsers — including Nucleus in the collaboration tab of the launcher — or Omniverse Drive.

Omniverse currently supports export and import of FBX, GLB, gLTF, OBJ, USDZ, and USD formats.
Omniverse currently supports import only of Alembic, E57, IGES, LXO, MD5, and STP formats.

More supported formats are continually being added.

Asset Importer Documentation

Omniverse Drive

For third-party applications that natively support USD, MDL, and/or texture exporting, users can use Omniverse Drive, a locally mounted hard drive that syncs with Omniverse Nucleus — whether Nucleus is deployed via a workstation or an enterprise server. Using third-party applications with Omniverse Drive provides similar functionality as uni-directional Omniverse Connectors. That means users can copy, read, and write files directly in Windows Explorer. It can also be used to open and save directly from applications. This is useful for existing tools that can only export assets to local disks or are not supported by Omniverse Connectors, such as Adobe Substance applications, SideFX Houdini, Maxon Cinema4D, and Pixologic Zbrush.

Omniverse Drive Connect Documentation

Omniverse Connectors

Omniverse Connect libraries are distributed as plugins, or Omniverse Connectors, that can enable client applications to connect to Nucleus, as well as publish and subscribe to individual assets and full worlds. Bi-directional Omniverse Connectors are of the highest fidelity — and enable real-time updates between third-party applications.

connectors_001.png Omniverse Connectors Documentation

How to build an Omniverse Connector

Build your own NVIDIA Omniverse Connector with the Connect SDK, prebuilt source code samples that use Pixar’s USD, and Omniverse Client Library APIs.

The sample demonstrates how to:

  • Connect to an Omniverse server
  • Create a USD stage
  • Create a polygonal box and add it to the stage
  • Upload an MDL material and its textures to an Omniverse server
  • Bind an MDL and USD Preview Surface material to the box
  • Add a light to the stage
  • Move and rotate the box with live updates
  • Disconnect from an Omniverse server
  • Print verbose Omniverse logs
  • Open an existing stage and find a mesh to do live edits


The Connect SDK can be installed from the Connector section of the Launcher Exchange.


Video Tutorial

This video walks through how to set up USD and Omniverse Client Library dependencies, as well as project settings from the Omniverse Connect sample, to create an application. The application is a very simple USD reader that opens a USD file on a Nucleus server and prints the node paths as it traverses through the primitives.

Connector Sample Documentation Connector Forum for support

Extensions, Apps, Microservices

Omniverse Kit

Instead of being a monolithic application, Omniverse Kit is made of extensions. These extensions are building blocks that can be assembled in many ways to create different types of applications. At the high level, all user interface (UI) elements, workflow, and general features are written in Python, making them extremely customizable.

Omniverse Kit is a toolkit for building native Omniverse applications and microservices. It is built on a framework that provides a wide variety of functionality through a set of lightweight extensions. These stand-alone extensions are plugins that are authored in Python or C++.

Kit is designed to be a flexible and extensible development platform for apps and microservices. It can be run headless to create a microservice, or with a UI. The UI application can be fully written using the UI engine, which enables it to be fully customized.

Omniverse Kit
Omniverse Kit Documentation


Omniverse extensions are small, purpose-built pieces of code — and the building blocks of Omniverse apps. An extension is, in its simplest form, a folder with a configuration file (extension.toml), but most complex extensions include a large amount of Python code, libraries, documents, assets, and any relevant data.

If enabled, the Omniverse extension system will find and follow the directions of the configuration file, which may include loading Python modules, Carbonite plugins, and shared libraries, or applying settings.

Omniverse Extensions Documentation


Scripting is a key feature of Omniverse. It allows developers to forge intricate simulations, custom workflow tools, and path-traced and/or ray-traced games, as well as extend NVIDIA Omniverse Kit beyond its roots and foundations. Because of the expansive nature of scripting, the Python API guide is separated into its own complete presence, allowing programmers to have unfettered documentation and searches related only to scripting in Omniverse.

For cases where the enhancement needs are too demanding for scripting, Omniverse also provides C++-based SDKs that can be used to create high-performance extensions. Omniverse’s C++ side is based on plugin modules that can be dynamically loaded as needed. These can be used to provide new features and functionalities for many Omniverse offerings, including new UI and heavy calculations.

Omniverse Kit exposes much of its functionality through Python bindings. This provides an API that can be used to write new extensions to Omniverse Kit or new experiences for Omniverse. Python bindings are the easiest way to get new functionality added to Omniverse Kit or modify existing behavior. Python bindings can also be used to write scripted portions of interactive USD stages in Omniverse Kit or build an entire stage programmatically.

Kit Python API Documentation


Omni.UI is the foundation user interface for all Omniverse extensions and Kit applications. Kit also runs headless and as a Python library that can be included in your own application stack.

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 01:19 – Key Features
  • 02:02 – Widgets
  • 02:34 – Widgets: UI.LABEL
  • 03:06 – Widgets: Customize UI.LABEL
  • 03:26 – Widgets: UI.IMAGE
  • 03:42 – Widgets: Customize UI.IMAGE
  • 03:51 – Widgets: UI.BUTTON
  • 03:42 – Widgets: Customize UI.IMAGE
  • 03:51 – Widgets: UI.BUTTON
  • 03:56 – Widgets: Customize UI.BUTTON widget size
  • 04:12 – Widgets: Customize UI.BUTTON callback
  • 04:32 – Widgets: List of core widgets

Omni.UI Documentation


The Omniverse microservice architecture allows developers to build and deploy applications made up of independent and modular components called services.

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 01:17 – Services
  • 02:00 – Core
  • 02:22 – Transports
  • 03:30 – Extensions
  • 03:52 – Routers
  • 04:10 – Facilities
  • 05:33 – Client
  • 06:35 – Example: Splash screen
  • 06:52 – Example: Thumbnail generation
  • 07:30 – Example: Distributed task execution

Omniverse Replicator Synthetic Data Generation Platform

Omniverse Replicator, a synthetic data generation platform, gives developers an advanced framework that enables physically accurate 3D synthetic data generation to accelerate the training and accuracy of perception networks.

Replicator easily integrates and connects to existing pipelines through USD. Plus, with Omniverse’s connections to existing 3D digital content creation ecosystems, developers can easily import and export assets to and from Replicator. The platform is built for simplicity and customizability – users can open Replicator within Omniverse Code, or quickly and easily assemble a custom app to suit their workflow.


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