Walt Disney Animation Studios has created an open-technology web site, with the texture-mapping application Ptex being its first offering.
Ptex was developed by WDAS principal software engineer Brent Burley for use in production-quality rendering. WDAS has also compiled a set of papers available on the site for sharing additional technical innovations with the industry via the site, which can be found at www.disneyanimation.com/technology.
‘Ptex from Disney Animation is one of those premiere technologies that can only reach its full potential by releasing it as open source,’ said Andy Hendrickson, chief technology officer. ‘It is a revolutionary idea, and though some would characterize it as a Disney competitive advantage, it has more value to the corporation as an industry standard in solving the time-consuming computer graphics problem of assigning textures to geometry. Setting a new standard is best accomplished by giving technology away for free.’
Ptex eliminates the need for tedious and labor-intensive UV assignment by applying a separate texture to each face of a subdivision or polygon mesh. The Ptex file format can efficiently store hundreds of thousands of texture images in a single file, resulting in a significant reduction in server load. The Ptex API, which WDAS is releasing as open source, provides cached file I/O and high quality filtering – everything that is required to easily add Ptex support to a production-quality renderer or texture authoring application.