You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Pixar Releases OpenSubdiv 2.0 with Blender-compatible License


siggraph2013_buttonThe Blender Foundation announced yesterday that Pixar will release their OpenSubdiv 2.0 library with a Blender compatible license at Siggraph!

OpenSubdiv 2.0 is "a set of open source libraries that implement high-performance subdivision surface (subdiv) evaluation on massively parallel CPU and GPU architectures. This codepath is optimized for drawing deforming subdivs with static topology at interactive framerates." (read more here).

What does this mean exactly, and what are the potential advantages for Blender? I asked Ton Roosendaal for some insights.

Ton writes:

OpenSubdiv is Pixar's open source project to handle Subdivision Surface generation and drawing. In Blender this is currently handled by 1 thread only, and it needs to generate the subsurfed data first, before it can draw.

OpenSubdiv instead:

  • allows full threading, including use of GPU
  • creates and draws subsurfed "on the fly", so you don't need to generate/store data
  • has excellent crease support
  • has adaptive (screen space) subdivision
  • supports Ptex natively (non UV texture mapping)

In Cycles OpenSubdiv will replace the incomplete subdivision surface implementation, to enable faster BVH builds and lower memory usage for subdivision surfaces, as well as Ptex rendering support.

Integrating will require a lot of work inside Blender however, so it will take some time before there is an official release with OpenSubdiv support. Especially support for multires and sculpt will be complex. A planning for this work and set of actions still has to be defined.

Nevertheless, Brecht is already on it, and expects to have a first WIP demo of Cycles-OpenSubdiv at Siggraph next week!

Note about the license: OpenSubdivs Apache license is only GPL V3 compatible. Blender is "GPL V2 or later", so that should work fine. However, we do need to check every library we use too, some are still GPL V2 only (like Carve booleans).

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


    • Chrome Monkey on

      It was really just a matter of time, since Catmull-Clark were Pixar employees and the basic Catmull-Clark subdivision is open-license, but it's great that it's finally gone forward!

  1. The more functions that get dumped onto the GPU (like this one), the better it would be if we could choose ATi GPUs. They always seem to get much better 'compute' scores than nVidia cards, but we are currently forced to install nVidia hardware for Cycles. There was some news about this in a previous developer Notes... can't wait for a big announcement!

  2. I can't stress enough how COOL this is. It also means that it will be possible to create very high precision models and export them to NURBS software and back.

  3. My little brain is trying to understand all the implications of this. Could anyone confirm if OpenSubdiv is a way of making the subdivision algorithms we already have (principally Catmull-Clark) more efficiently and flexibly computed / displayed, or will it provide a new subdivision method with different results?

  4. OpenSubdiv sounds great, but what I'm really excited about is Ptex, which I'd never heard of but had me convinced in 2 minutes that it's incredible (and, incidentally, addresses some issues that I'be veen thinking about lately).

  5. A Blender with OpenSubdiv and OpenVDB together? We've seen mentionings about adding these for a good while, but I'm so glad to finally see some of these awesomeness being implemented into Blender! These are both a powerful step forward for Blender.

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.