The Brand-New Academy Software Foundation Aims to Streamline and Standardize Practices for Developing Open Source Software for Motion Pictures

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and The Linux Foundation have formed the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), a new organization dedicated to sharing and collaborating on open-source technology. The foundation will roll out the welcome wagon to interested developers and engineers next week at SIGGRAPH 2018 in Vancouver, BC.

The ASWF aims to serve as a collaborative venue for developing governance models, legal frameworks, and community infrastructure that will make it easier to efficiently develop and use open-source software in the motion picture industry.

Academy Software Foundation infographic

Infographic detailing the ASWF initiative. Click to enlarge
Academy Software Foundation

Among the ASWF’s stated goals are the establishment of a new software development infrastructure to help avoid “siloed” development at different studios and a shared licensing template to make open source software licenses more consistent. The foundation also hopes to serve as a forum for sharing ideas and resources, as well as to provide a clear path for developers who are interested in participating and contributing code to open-source projects.

“Open Source Software has enabled developers and engineers to create the amazing visual effects and animation that we see every day in the movies, on television and in video games,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, in a prepared statement. “With the Academy Software Foundation, we are providing a home for this community of open source developers to collaborate and drive the next wave of innovation across the motion picture and broader media industries.”

AMPAS said that its Science and Technology Council has found that more than 80 percent of the motion-picture industry uses open-source software, especially in the realm of animation and visual effects. David Morin, project lead for the Academy’s Open Source Investigation, added that the ASWF will “provide funding, structure and infrastructure for the open source community.”

ASWF founding members include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games, Foundry, Google Cloud, Intel, SideFX, Walt Disney Studios, and Weta Digital.

Interested developers can learn more about the ASWF at SIGGRAPH next week, during the keynote by ILM SVP and Executive Creative Director Rob Bredow, who was also a member of the AMPAS Science and Technology Council’s Open Source Investigation Committee. That session takes place on Monday, August 13, at 2 p.m. PT. The keynote will be livestreamed by SIGGRAPH 2018 on YouTube and Facebook.

More discussion will take place at the ASWF’s Birds of a Feather session, scheduled for 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday, August 14 in the Vancouver Convention Centre’s East Building, Room 11.

Developers can also join the ASWF mailing list by signing up online.