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Autodesk open-sources RV

Autodesk open-sources RV

Monday, August 8th, 2022 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk has open-sourced RV, its Scientific and Technical Award-winning image viewer and shot playback system for visual effects and animation pipelines.

The code will form part of the Academy Software Foundation’s new Open Review Initiative, alongside VFX facility DNEG’s own shot review and playback tool xSTUDIO, and parts of Sony Pictures Imageworks’ itView.

A high-performance image viewer and playback system for VFX and animation production
Originally developed by Tweak Software in the mid-2000s and acquired by Autodesk in 2015, RV is a high-performance image viewer and playback system designed for VFX and animation work.

The software won a Scientific and Technical Academy Award in 2016 for allowing “studios of all sizes to take advantage of a state-of-the-art workflow”.

Current users include leading Australian VFX and animation facility Animal Logic, which describes RV as “critical to its animation pipeline”.

Steadily updated, but not available separately from ShotGrid since late last year
Since Autodesk acquired it, RV has received regular updates, with the latest, RV 2022, adding support for new open standard OpenTimelineIO.

The update also moved RV a step in its current direction, discontinuing the old $299 perpetual licences, with RV becoming available only via subscriptions to ShotGrid, Autodesk’s production tracking system.

Part of ASWF’s new Open Review Initiative to build a unified open-source shot review toolset
As a newly open-source product, RV becomes one of the foundations of movie industry open standards body the Academy Software Foundation’s new Open Review Initiative.

The project, which has the aim of building a unified open-source toolset for shot playback, review and approval, will also feature code from two other shot review and playback tools.

Both were developed in-house at major visual effects facilities: the upcoming xSTUDIO at DNEG, and itView at Sony Pictures Imageworks.

As ASWF’s latest early-stage Sandbox project, alongside new asset-management standard OpenAssetIO, the three tools will initially maintain separate code repositories, before gradually converging into a “cohesive, state-of-the-art review and approval framework”.

Licensing and system requirements
RV is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. Download the current stable release, RV 2022.3, here.

At the time of writing, RV has not yet been added to Autodesk’s open-source project website, and the code is not available on Autodesk’s GitHub repository.

We’ve contacted Autodesk to ask when and where the code will become available, and under what licence it is being released, and will update if we hear back.

Read Autodesk’s announcement that it is making RV available open-source

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