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Omniverse, billed by Nvidia as a metaverse for engineers, will now have a free version available for a much larger community of creators and artists.

Omniverse is moving out of beta into 1.0 availability for customers. On top of that, it will have a free version for millions of individual creators and artists. Nvidia made the announcement at the CES 2022 tech trade show in Las Vegas.

The Omniverse is Nvidia’s simulation and collaboration platform delivering the foundation of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

Nvidia has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Omniverse, which is a foundation to connect virtual worlds, starting with engineering simulations created by big enterprises. Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse platform for Nvidia, said in a press briefing that it incorporates more than 20 years worth of Nvidia technology.

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“We are heavily invested in it,” Kerris said. “We use it as a company. It’s necessary for our different teams to work collectively in a remote way.”

Above: A scene from an Ericsson Omniverse scene.

Image Credit: Ericsson/Nvidia

As for making it free for individuals, Kerris said, “We look at it as the same context as an operating system. A rising tide lifts all boats. There will be many avenues for commerce on these virtual worlds. We think there is an entire economy coming for these virtual worlds. The more we can make it available, the better all of us can benefit.”

Since its open beta launch a year ago, Omniverse has been downloaded by almost 100,000 creators who are accelerating their workflows with its core rendering, physics and AI technologies.

Omniverse background

Ericsson is testing 5G network signals in Omniverse.

Above: Ericsson is testing 5G network signals in Omniverse.

Image Credit: Nvidia

Omniverse is based on Pixar’s widely adopted Universal Scene Description (USD), the leading format for universal interchange between 3D applications. Pixar used it to make animated movies. The platform also uses Nvidia technology, such as real-time photorealistic rendering, physics, materials, and interactive workflows between industry-leading 3D software products.

“The basis of Omniverse is connecting existing 3D software tools that typically don’t talk well to each other,” said Kerris. “You can think of USD as the HTML of 3D.”

Omniverse enables collaboration and simulation that could become essential for Nvidia customers working in robotics, automotive, architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment.

The Omniverse makes it possible for designers, artists, and reviewers to work together in real time across leading software applications in a shared virtual world from anywhere. Kerris said Nvidia is taking input from developers, partners, and customers and is advancing the platform so everyone from individuals to large enterprises can work with others to build amazing virtual worlds that look, feel, and behave just as the physical world does.

Nvidia defines the metaverse as an immersive and connected shared virtual world. Here, artists can create one-of-a-kind digital scenes,  architects can create beautiful buildings, and engineers can design new products for homes. These creations — often called digital twins — can then be taken into the physical world after they have been perfected in the digital world.

Above: Omniverse art

Image Credit: Nvidia

Key to Omniverse’s industry adoption is Pixar’s open source USD — the foundation of Omniverse’s collaboration and simulation platform — enabling large teams to work simultaneously across multiple software applications on a shared 3D scene. Engineers can work on the same part of the simulated imagery at the same time. The USD open standard foundation gives software partners multiple ways to extend and connect to Omniverse, whether through USD adoption and support or building a plugin or via an Omniverse Connector.

Apple, Pixar, and Nvidia collaborated to bring advanced physics capabilities to USD, embracing open standards to provide 3D workflows to billions of devices. Omniverse is now connecting 40 different 3D ecosystems using USD as a standard.

“Omniverse is a platform that doesn’t replace existing workflows. It brings them all together,” Kerris said.

Omniverse Machinima and Audio2Face

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, introduces Omniverse Avatar.

Above: Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, introduces Omniverse Avatar.

Image Credit: Nvidia

Nvidia also shared Omniverse Machinima and Omniverse Audio2Face, as well as new platform features like Nucleus Cloud and 3D marketplaces.

Omniverse Machinima makes it easy to create storylines based on existing game content, Kerris said. It has games like MechWarrior 5, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, and Shadow Warrior 3. That allows players and creators to remix the game content to make their own 3D movies by dragging and dropping the assets into their scenes.

Omniverse Audio2Face is an AI-enabled app that instantly animates a 3D face with just an audio track. It now offers blendshape support and direct export to Epic’s MetaHuman Creator technology.

Omniverse Nucleus Cloud enables “one-click-to-collaborate” simple sharing of large Omniverse 3D  scenes, meaning artists can collaborate from across the room or the globe without transferring massive datasets. Changes made by the artist are reflected back to the client — like working on a cloud-shared document — but for a 3D scene.

New support for the Omniverse ecosystem provided by leading 3D marketplaces and digital asset libraries gives creators an even easier way to build their scenes. TurboSquid by  Shutterstock, CGTrader, Sketchfab and Twinbru have released thousands of Omniverse-ready assets for creators, all based on USD and available in the Omniverse Launcher. Reallusion’s ActorCore, Daz3D and e-on software’s PlantCatalog will soon release their own Omniverse-ready assets.

Kerris sees Omniverse as playing a key role in the creation of an interoperable metaverse, which will theoretically connect different virtual worlds together. These boundless worlds will be populated with shops, homes, people, robots, factories, museums — a staggering amount of 3D content. This content is challenging to produce, typically requiring multiple, often incompatible tools.

Nvidia’s aim is to use Omniverse to connect these independent 3D design worlds into a shared virtual scene. Omniverse Enterprise, the paid subscription for professional teams, was made available at Nvidia’s event GTC in November and is sold by Nvidia’s global partner network.

Nvidia is also expanding the Omniverse ecosystem with Omniverse Connectors, extensions and asset libraries — built by many partners. Today, there are 14 connectors to applications like Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine — with many more in the pipeline, including an Adobe Substance 3D Material Extension coming soon.

Nvidia Studio

Above: You can log into the Omniverse with Nvidia RTX laptops and create 3D art.

Image Credit: Nvidia

Omniverse is already available to millions of Blender 3D tool users. And Nvidia said it is available to millions of Nvidia Studio users who use it with their Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards.

Nvidia Studio lets users take advantage of Nvidia tools like Omniverse, Canvas and Broadcast, which help creators enhance their workflows. It’s supported by specialized drivers that are updated monthly for performance and reliability — like the January Studio Driver, available starting today.

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