
UsdGeom defines the 3D graphicsrelated prim and property schemas that together form a basis for interchanging geometry between DCC tools in a graphics pipeline.
Currently, all classes in UsdGeom inherit from UsdGeomImageable , whose intent is to capture any prim type that might want to be rendered or visualized. This distinction is made for two reasons:
Admittedly, not all of the classes inheriting from UsdGeomImageable really need to be imageable  they are grouped as they are to avoid the need for multipleinheritance, which would arise because some classes that may not necessarily be imageable are definitely transformable.
In UsdGeom, all geometry prims are directly transformable. This is primarily a scalability and complexity management decision, since primcount has a strong correlation to total scene composition time and memory footprint, and eliminating the need for a "shape" node for every piece of geometry generally reduces overall prim count by anywhere from 30% to 50%, depending on depth and branching factor of a scene's namespace hierarchy.
UsdGeomXformable encapsulates the schema for a prim that is transformable. Readers familiar with AbcGeom's Xform schema will find Xformable familiar, but more easily introspectable. Xformable decomposes a transformation into an ordered sequence of ops; unlike AbcGeom::Xform, which packs the op data into static and varying arrays, UsdGeomXformable expresses each op as an independent UsdAttribute. This data layout, while somewhat more expensive to extract, is much more conducive to "composed scene description" because it allows individual ops to be overridden in stronger layers independently of all other ops. We provide facilities leveraging core Usd features that help mitigate the extra cost of reading more attributes perprim for performancesensitive clients.
Of course, UsdGeom still requires a prim schema that simply represents a transformable prim that scopes other child prims, which is fulfilled by UsdGeomXform .
UsdGeomGprim is the base class for all "geometric primitives", which encodes several perprimitive graphicsrelated properties. Defined Gprims currently include:
We expect there to be some debate around the last five "intrinsic" Gprims: Capsule, Cone, Cube, Cylinder, and Sphere, as not all DCC's support them as primitives. In Pixar's pipeline, we in fact rarely render these primitives, but find them highly useful for their fast inside/outside tests in defining volumes for lighting effects, procedural modifiers (such as "kill spheres" for instancers), and colliders. The last, in particular, is quite useful for interchanging data with rigidbody simulators. It is necessary to be able to transmit these volumes from dressing/animation tools to simulation/lighting/rendering tools, thus their presence in our schema. We expect to support these and other "nonnative" schema types as some form of proxy or "pass through" prim in DCC's that do not understand them.
UsdGeomPointInstancer provides a powerful, scalable encoding for scattering many instances of multiple prototype objects (which can be arbitrary subtrees of the UsdStage that contains the PointInstancer), animating both the instances and prototypes, and pruning/masking instances based on integer ID.
UsdGeomCamera encodes a transformable camera.
UsdGeomModelAPI is an API schema that extends the basic UsdModelAPI API with concepts unique to models that contain 3D geometry. This includes:
"Primvars" are an important concept in UsdGeom. Primvars are attributes with a number of extra features that address the following problems in computer graphics:
One example that involves the first two problems is texture coordinates (commonly referred to as "uv's"), which are cast as primvars in UsdGeom. UsdGeomPrimvar encapsulates a single primvar, and provides the features associated with interpolating data across a surface. UsdGeomPrimvarsAPI provides the interface for creating and querying primvars on a prim, as well as the computations related to primvar inheritance.
Purpose is a concept we have found useful in our pipeline for classifying geometry into categories that can each be independently included or excluded from traversals of prims on a stage, such as rendering or boundingbox computation traversals. The fallback purpose, default indicates that a prim has "no special purpose" and should generally be included in all traversals. Prims with purpose render should generally only be included when performing a "final quality" render. Prims with purpose proxy should generally only be included when performing a lightweight proxy render (such as openGL).
Finally, prims with purpose guide should generally only be included when an interactive application has been explicitly asked to "show guides".
A prim that is Imageable with an authored opinion about its purpose will always have the same effective purpose as its authored value. If the prim is not Imageable or does not have an authored opinion about its own purpose, then it will inherit the purpose of the closest Imageable ancestor with an authored purpose opinion. If there are no Imageable ancestors with an authored purpose opinion then this prim uses its fallback purpose.
For example, if you have a prim tree like such
Purpose render can be useful in creating "light blocker" geometry for raytracing interior scenes. Purposes render and proxy can be used together to partition a complicated model into a lightweight proxy representation for interactive use, and a fully realized, potentially quite heavy, representation for rendering. One can use UsdVariantSets to create proxy representations, but doing so requires that we recompose parts of the UsdStage in order to change to a different runtime level of detail, and that does not interact well with the needs of multithreaded rendering. Purpose provides us with a better tool for dynamic, interactive complexity management.
As demonstrated in UsdGeomBBoxCache, a traverser should be ready to accept combinations of included purposes as an input.
To ensure reliable interchange, we stipulate the following foundational mathematical assumptions, which are codified in the Graphics Foundations (Gf) math module:
GfMatrix4d
datum mat, mat[3][1] denotes the second column of the fourth row.So, for example, transforming a vector v by first a Scale matrix S, then a Rotation matrix R, and finally a Translation matrix T can be written as the following mathematical expression:
Because Gf exposes transformation methods on Matrices, not Vectors, to effect this transformation in Python, one would write:
Deriving from the mathematical assumptions in the preceding section, UsdGeom positions objects in a right handed coordinate system, and a UsdGeomCamera views the scene in a righthanded coordinate system where up is +Y, right is +X, and the forward viewing direction is Z  this is explained and diagrammed in UsdRenderCamera. If you find yourself needing to import USD into a system that operates in a lefthanded coordinate system, you may find this article useful.
UsdGeom also, by default, applies the right hand rule to compute the "intrinsic", surface normal (also sometimes referred to as the geometric normal) for all nonimplicit surface and solid types.
That is, the normal computed from (e.g.) a polygon's sequential vertices using the right handed winding rule determines the "front" or "outward" facing direction, that typically, when rendered will receive lighting calculations and shading.
Since not all modeling and animation packages agree on the right hand rule, UsdGeomGprim introduces the orientation attribute to enable individual gprims to select the left hand winding rule, instead. So, gprims whose orientation is "rightHanded" (which is the fallback) must use the right hand rule to compute their surface normal, while gprims whose orientation is "leftHanded" must use the left hand rule.
However, any given gprim's localtoworld transformation can flip its effective orientation, when it contains an odd number of negative scales. This condition can be reliably detected using the (Jacobian) determinant of the localtoworld transform: if the determinant is less than zero, then the gprim's orientation has been flipped, and therefore one must apply the opposite handedness rule when computing its surface normals (or just flip the computed normals) for the purposes of hidden surface detection and lighting calculations.
UsdGeomPointBased primitives and UsdGeomPointInstancer primitives all allow the specification of velocities and accelerations to describe point (or instance) motion at offsample UsdTimeCode s, as an alternative to relying on native UsdStage linear sample interpolation.
Using velocities is the only reliable way of encoding the motion of primitives whose topology is varying over time, as adjacent samples' indices may be unrelated to each other, and the samples themselves may not even possess the same number of elements.
To help ensure that all consumers of UsdGeom data will compute identical posing from the same dataset, we describe how the position, velocity, and acceleration data should be sampled and combined to produce "interpolated" positions. There are several cases to consider, for which we stipulate the following logic:
In summary, we stipulate that the sampleplacement of the points, velocities, and accelerations attributes be identical in each range over which we want to compute motion samples. We do not allow velocities to be recorded at times at which there is not a corresponding points sample.
This is to simplify and expedite the calculations required to compute a position at any requested time. Since most simulators produce both a position and velocity at each timeStep, we do not believe this restriction should impose an undue burden.
Note that the sampling requirements are applied to each requested motion sampling interval independently. So, for example, if points and velocities have samples at times 0, 1, 2, 3, but then velocities has an extra sample at 2.5, and we are computing forward motion blur on each frame, then we should get velocityinterpolated positions for the motionblocks for frames 0, 1, and 3, but no interpolation for frame 2.
If one requires a pose at only a single point in time, sampleTime, such as when stepping through "subframes" in an application like usdview, then we need simply apply the above rules, and if we successfully sample points, velocities, and accelerations, let:
stage>GetTimeCodesPerSecond()
... then
Computer graphics renderers typically simulate the effect of nonzero camera shutter intervals (which introduces motion blur into an image) by sampling moving geometry at multiple, nearby sample times, for each rendered image, linearly blending the results of each sample. Most, if not all renderers introduce the simplifying assumption that for any given image we wish to render, we will not allow the topology of geometry to change over the timerange we sample for motion blur.
Therefore, if we are sampling a topologically varying, velocitiespossessing UsdGeomMesh at sample times t_{1}, t_{2} ... t_{n} in order to render the mesh with motion blur, we stipulate that all n samples be computed from the same sampled points, velocities, and accelerations values sampled at_sampleTime_. Therefore, we would compute all n samples using the above formula, but iterating over the n samples, substituting t_{i} for sampleTime.
Two things to note:
UsdGeomMotionAPI is an applied schema whose properties describe how scene sampling should be adjusted to achieve artistspecified changes to perceived motion, such as adjusting the amount of motionblur differently for different objects in a scene. All of the properties defined by this schema should be inherited down namespace, so that one can adjust the blurring of an entire model with a single statement/opinion on the model's root prim.
The motion:blurScale attribute allows artists to scale the amount of motion blur to be rendered for parts of the scene without changing the recorded animation. We stipulate that this should at least affect the primary geometric properties of prims, such as:
Beyond that "geometric motion core" of properties, renderers should apply blurScale to any other attributes that they can blur.
We can implement this feature by either mutating (scaling) the sample values we send to a renderer, or by adjusting our sampling and sample times. We suggest that the latter provides superior results, and therefore describe it in more detail.
We begin by establishing the difference between the sampling window and the shutter window when preparing data for a renderer. The sampling window is the interval in scene time in which we will sample the scene for rendering any particular frame, and changes as we render successive frames. The shutter window (as typically specified via UsdGeomCamera's shutter:open and shutter:close properties) is the interval in which the renderer will look for samples to consume, is often centered around zero, and is usually the same for all frames.
This means we translate samples from the sampling domain to the shutter domain by simply subtracting the "current frame time" from the time ordinate of each sample. However, by scaling the sampling window and adding in a compensatory inverse scale to the translation of sample time to shutter time, we can very simply implement the motion:blurScale behavior. More precisely:
For example, let us assume we are rendering a bouncing ball with a sampling window of [frameTime, frameTime+0.5]
and a shutter window of [0, 0.5]
.
If we want to reduce the blur by a factor of 2, we set motion:blurScale to 0.5
, scaling the sampling window by 0.5
(around the pivot of frameTime
), and "pushing out" the smaller window of samples by a factor of two to make them fill the shutter window  we realize less blur by taking samples closer to the shutteropen and "looking at them" longer. Concretely, if we are taking the usual two samples, the first sample is unchanged (as we would expect since it provides the anchoring pose); however, the second sample is evaluated at scene time frameTime + 0.25
instead of frameTime + 0.5
, but the time ordinate we attach to it as we hand it to the renderer is 0.5
.
If we want to increase the blur by a factor of 3, we set motion:blurScale to 3.0
, scaling the sampling window by a factor of three (around the pivot of frameTime
) which, for highquality renderpreppers such as Hydra means that we will prepare all the samples we find in the scene in the interval [frameTime, frameTime+1.5]
, which will likely encompass more samples, representing more motion. For those samples to contribute to the render, they must be made to fit within the shutter window, so we rescale the sample times such that, for example, if the final sample were at framerelative scene time 1.5
, it would be scaled by 1/3 to rest at shutter time 0.5
.
This technique works equally well for motion derived from simple, interpolationbased sampling, and also for samples computed using velocities and accelerations, as described in Applying Timesampled Velocities to Geometry .
The classes described above are concerned with individual primitives and properties. Some geometic quantities, however, describe aspects of an entire scene, which we encode as stage metadata. For example it is UsdGeom that allows Encoding Stage UpAxis and Encoding Stage Linear Units.