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Cortex is a cross-application framework for computation, rendering, and file I/O that provides a set of high-quality C++ libraries and Python modules tailored for software development in the VFX industry. This project focuses on creating a set of practical and reusable modules for technical directors, CG supervisors, and programmers, freeing them to focus on innovation and new features in their software projects.

Out of the box, Cortex has full support for the Arnold, Appleseed, and 3Delight renderers. It also has built-in integration with Maya, Houdini, and Nuke, with default user interfaces that provide for file I/O and live data manipulation. With its extensible API, Cortex’s DCC integration can be expanded to create custom tools to solve studio pipeline needs.

You can find out more from our introductory paper on Cortex and the Cortex presentations at SIGGRAPH 2011.

For a proof-of-concept demonstration of Cortex’s power as a framework, see Gaffer, an open-source, node-based application designed for flexible scene building, rendering, and pipeline automation.

Participation in the Cortex project requires abiding by its Code of Conduct.


Download the latest source from the releases page.

Mailing Lists

Building and Testing

Questions, Troubleshooting, and Feature Requests

If you have any questions about developing Cortex, or feature requests, please ask on the Cortex developer group.

Contributions and Bugs Reports

Please see the project's Contribution Guidelines.

Copyright and License

© 2007–2019 Image Engine Design Inc. All rights reserved.

Distributed under the 3-Clause BSD license.