Industrial Light & Magic ILM and Sony Pictures Imageworks have released their geometry caching format Alembic 1.5. The popular open source tool now includes new support for multi-threading which results in significant performance and efficiency improvements for all users.

Sharing files with embedded animations just got a lot easier.

Unfortunately SketchUp currently doesn't support the Alembic format but when major players like Sony and ILM are pushing for the industry to adopt their format it does suggest a move towards imporving productivity for users who use numerous pipilines.

Whilst there isn't an immediate need for SketchUp to add support for the Alembic format it is interesting to see heavyweights like AutoDesk and Sony/ILM pushing for a format that allows for smooth data exchange between 3D authoring tools.

Alembic was put through its paces in production at Industrial Light & Magic this year, used extensively on every show we worked on from Avengers to Pacific Rim," says Paul Ryan, ILM's Head of Technology. "The ability to move our large scene data between multiple packages has become an indispensible part of our pipeline. New features, such as the faster back end and instancing are already proving their worth.

New in this release:

  • Greatly improved read performance. Single-thread reads happen, on average, four times faster. Read times while multi-threading can happen up to 25 times faster.
  • Smaller file sizes. Files are, on average, five to 15 percent smaller. Greater reductions are possible for scenes involving many small objects.
  • Support for explicit hierarchical deduplication. (instancing) within a file.

 More info on Alembic can be found at:



About the Author

rich O'Brien

This article was written by 

Rich is SketchUcation's Managing Director and Certified SketchUp Trainer. He has a background in aviation technical training and is also the editor of CatchUp WebMag


Visit our sponsors: