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Sony Pictures Imageworks announced the release of OpenColorIO (OCIO), its sixth production-proven open source software to be introduced since launching its open source initiative in July 2009. The new release can be found online at

Colorspace -- the numerical description of color used in computer graphics production and display -- is one of the trickiest and most challenging aspects of digital motion-picture production. This is particularly true of visual effects and animation, where images typically flow through multiple software applications, and even production houses, each often leveraging unique color processes. In the absence of conventions for sharing color transformation processes, virtually every production team must re-invent a color workflow, for every application - which tends to be really hard to get right.

OpenColorIO addresses this critical issue. OpenColorIO (OCIO) enables color transforms and image display to be handled in a consistent manner across multiple graphics applications. Unlike existing color management solutions, OCIO is geared towards motion-picture post-production, with an emphasis on visual effects and animation color pipelines. OpenColorIO has been used at Sony Pictures Imageworks since 2003 to address the challenges of working with multiple commercial image-processing applications that have different approaches to color management. By providing a unified color environment, OpenColorIO greatly simplifies the task of creating and validating multiple-application color workflows.

"Dealing with color space issues is something every facility faces on every show--and its not getting any simpler," notes Rob Bredow, Chief Technology Officer at Sony Pictures Imageworks and a veteran visual effects supervisor. "OpenColorIO is our contribution to help provide a framework on which people can easily share colorspace transformations and apply it to any workflow consistently."

Lead developer Jeremy Selan explains, "Optimistically, we would hope that as the motion picture industry transitions from film to a purely digital workflow, color management processes would become simpler and more rigorously defined. Unfortunately, in practice weve seen the opposite -- that a fully digital workflow often opens the door to confusion and ambiguity creeping into the color processes. Our hope is to offer OpenColorIO as a step in the right direction. For smaller facilities, OpenColorIO allows artists to work in a properly color-managed process with minimal setup effort. And, for larger facilities the extensive customization allows OCIO-compatible tools to be used off-the-shelf -- matching existing facility color practice."

While proprietary technologies have long characterized the visual effects and animation industry, recent years have seen increasing adoption of commercial technologies. Standards, common technologies and open source development further enable greater interaction among artists, facilities and production workflows. In 2009, Imageworks released five open source projects including OSL, a programmable shading language for rendering, Field3d, a voxel data storage library, Maya Reticule, a Maya Plug-in for camera masking, Scala Migration, a database migration tool, Pystring, python-like string handling in C.

"Weve been very pleased by the response of the industry and the open source community to our projects," says Rob Bredow. "Were excited to share these tools with a wider audience and value the collaborative development."

Copyright 2010 AnimationXpress India Pvt Ltd, distributed by

Source Citation
"Sony Pictures Imageworks announces OpenColorIO." Animation Xpress 29 July 2010. General OneFile. Web. 6 Aug. 2010.
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