IBC Accelerator Challenges - Usable VFX Asset Archive

Project Proof of Concept 

Realising and exploiting value in VFX for film, TV & games assets, and future-proofing IP through the automation of archiving 3D components. 

Calling for Participant Expertise (open call):

  • 3D FX Modelling Software 

  • Metadata Asset Management Systems 

  • Digital Asset Management (audio & video) 

Apply to join this project here


MovieLabs (Raymond Drewery: Project Lead), Universal Studios, Paramount Studios, Sony Innovation Studios, Unity Technologies 

Challenge & Innovation

Join world leading Hollywood studios in a technology quest to realise the tremendous potential in exploiting the past and future value of VFX assets!

3D Digital Assets are an increasingly vital component in movies, TV shows and gaming especially those heavy with VFX.

This Accelerator Project aims to enable an automated archive for VFX assets, similar to existing video and audio asset managers, where such VFX assets can be stored using a common standard with previews/proxies, common metadata, and a searchable index.

This project aims to create an automated tool/process which can be used with ‘Work in Progress’ assets or an archive of 3D VFX assets (created using current industry tools) that can be standardized for metadata naming, then indexed and enabled for search, browse and preview of the asset packages.

Using such a tool, a content owner or the 3D vendors can rapidly ingest whole archives of 3D assets, standardize the format and clearly see what is in their library, including if there are applicable any variances or missing metadata. In this way, an asset package will carry with it its descriptive metadata and a proxy for easy viewing of the package contents which will make a package of assets easier to share between vendors and clients.

An open, standard format will also provide future-proofing so that tools will continue to exist to open archived packages in the future.

If the proxy includes a simple video file or still image of the 3D asset then existing AI tools may be able to populate the descriptive metadata with more information about the package contents.

This problem has two parts:

  • Agreeing on standard metadata, formats, ontology. ETC has a project underway for some of this.
  • Building a simple indexed repository that allows searching and retrieval. Ideally it will be independent of the actual storage mechanism (i.e. not depending on a particular cloud or local file system.)

Calling for Participant Expertise:

  • 3D FX Modelling Software 
  • Metadata Asset Management Systems 

  • Digital Asset Management (audio & video) 

Apply to join this project here

Key Deadlines

POC BEGINS: 31st March 2020


POC DEVELOPMENT: April-August, 2020

LIVE @IBC: September 2020

Why is a VFX/3D Asset archiving system important?

Currently VFX and animation vendors create thousands to millions of 3D assets on a project and the studio may need to coordinate between multiple vendors each handling parts of the project.

While each vendor has an internal asset management system and process there is no industry agreed process, scope or tools to normalize and store those assets.

Adding to the complexity, a 3D asset can comprise multiple sub-elements such as files for textures, rigging, animation, and mesh and also have related assets such as lower polygon complexity versions of the same asset. In addition, current practice can involve embedding some metadata in filenames, some in embedded file metadata, and some in asset management software.

Storing VFX assets in a way that allows them to be searched and retrieved will reduce the cost and complexity of re-using those assets, make them easier to share between contributors in a workflow, and increase efficiencies across the ecosystem.

For further information: accelerators@ibc.org

Download the Movielabs 2030 Production Vision White Paper here

Apply to be Champion or Participant 

(Based on the project brief, what particular, specific expertise can you offer to the project team?)
Project Champions are Broadcasters, Platforms and OTTS, Studios, Content or Rights Owners, Games Studios etc. – typically the buyers of vendor solutions. Participants in projects are vendors, system integrators, software developers, manufacturers of hardware and equipment – typically the sellers of solutions and products. Fees apply to project Participants. See IBC Accelerator Overview Deck for further information.