Integration of Pixar's Universal Scene Description into Unity
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USD Unity SDK: USD C# Bindings for Unity

This repository contains a set of libraries designed to support the use of USD in C#/Unity. The primary goal is to make it maximally easy to integrate USD using native Unity & C# data types with a familliar serialization paradigm and little prior knowledge of USD.

In addition to the high-level API, the raw USD API has been translated as faithfully as possible and is exposed via the convenient API, following Kay's adage: "Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible."

Using the Convenience API

The convenience API is accessed via USD.NET.Scene object. The general pattern of data access is to define a C# class to represent your data using native C# and Unity data types. Once a data structure has been defined, serialization works by calling Scene.Read and Scene.Write as follows:

// Initialize native Unity data type maps.

// Declare the data structure.
class MyCustomData : USD.NET.SampleBase {
  public string aString;
  public int[] anArrayOfInts;
  public UnityEngine.Bounds aBoundingBox;

// Populate Values.
var value = new MyCustomData();  
value.aString = "Foo";
value.anArrayOfInts = new int[] { 1, 2, 3, 4 };
value.aBoundingBox = new UnityEngine.Bounds();

// Write the value.
var scene = USD.NET.Scene.Create("C:/path/to/sceneFile.usd");
scene.Write("/scenegraph/path/to/data", value); 

// Read the value.
value = new MyCustomData();
scene = USD.NET.Scene.Open("C:/path/to/sceneFile.usd");
scene.Read("/scenegraph/path/to/data", value); 

The use of USD.NET.SampleBase is required and provides the underlying support for reflection based serialization. In addition to creating your own Sample types, some core USD types have been provided for convenience:

  • XformSample - Equivalent of UsdGeomXform, provides support for writing a Matrix4x4 as a USD transform.

  • MeshSample - Equivalent of UsdGeomMesh and maps directly onto UnityEngine.Mesh.

  • MeshSampleBase - Exposes only the properties required to populate a UnityEngine.Mesh. This sample type can be used to improve mesh I/O performance for read-only use cases.

While a reflection based API may seem ineffecient, it has been implemented carefully to maximize performance and to minimize main-thread stalls. The example above is simple, but can be extended to support asynchronous I/O and pooled memory access, in less than 10 additional lines of code.

Using the Raw USD API

The raw USD API has been exposed as close to the C++ API as possible, for example, the C++ pxr.UsdStage class is exposed as pxr.UsdStage. Using this API directly requires understanding the C++ Usd library and only the native C++ data types are supported.

To use a combination of the convenience API and the low level API, a reference to the current UsdStage can be obtained via USD.NET.Scene.Stage.

Source Map

  • /bin - binaries and scripts for maintaining the repo (generating bindings, etc).
  • /src - code from which all projects are generated.
  • /src/Swig - hand coded and generated swig inputs.
  • /src/Tests - unit tests for USD.NET and USD.NET.Unity.
  • /src/USD.NET - generated USD bindings and serialization foundation.
  • /src/USD.NET.Unity - Unity-specific support.
  • /unity-assetpackage - A source project for generating the Unity asset package.
  • /third_party - code copyrighted by third parties.


Note that currently only Windows builds are officially supported.

USD.NET is a Visual Studio solution which includes all projects. The primary requirement is to setup the library and include paths for the C component of the build (UsdCs):

  • Create a new environment variable USD_LOCATION pointing to your USD install root (contains /lib and /include)

Generating Bindings

There are two main steps to code generation, the first is a sequence of Python scripts which generate type-specific SWIG shims (.i files). The second step is the SWIG code generator itself.

  • The Python step has been tested with Ptyhon 2.7 and requires the USD Python files to be importable via PYTHONPATH.
  • The SWIG step requires the SWIG 3.0.12 executable on your system PATH.

By setting USD_LOCATION_PYTHON to the root install directory of a USD python build, all scripts will work without setting the system PATH or PYTHONPATH. The variable USD_LOCATION should be set to a USD build without python, to minimize runtime dependencies of the final plugin.

Once these two requirements are met, build.cmd can be run from a cmd prompt from the root of the UsdBindings directory. It will generate the additional SWIG inputs via Python, run SWIG, and then copy the outputs into the correct locations in the source tree. If this script fails at any step, execution will stop so the error can be observed.

The full build process is:

  1. Clone a USD repository
  2. Check out the desired version to a new branch (e.g. git checkout -b v0.8.4)
  3. Build USD with python enabled (this is required to generate C# bindings)
  4. Build USD to a different directory with python disabled (to minimize runtime dependencies)
  5. Set the environment variable USD_LOCATION_PYTHON to the path used in step (3)
  6. Set the environment variable USD_LOCATION to the path used in step (4)
  7. If upgrading USD to a newer version, run bin\diff-src.bat to merge modified header files. The "generated" source folder should also be deleted so it can be regenerated in the next step
  8. Run bin\build.bat to generate Swig bindings
  9. Open USD.NET.sln in Visual Studio 2015 (only VS 2015 is currently supported)
  10. If the source was upgraded or if the "generated" folder was deleted in step (7), update this folder in the solution by removing missing files and adding new additions
  11. Build the solution
  12. Hit play to run tests
  13. Run bin\install to copy USD.NET DLLs to the Unity asset package
  14. Distribute C++ DLLs to the unity asset package. After upgrading USD, its highly recommended to use a tool like DependencyWalker (64-bit) to collect a minimal set of dependencies.
  15. If upgrading USD, run bin\diff-plugins to merge / verify USD plugin changes. Note that the library paths are intentionally different.
  16. Test the asset package
  17. Export a new Unity asset package
  18. Test the exported asset package

The following is an example of valid environment variables:

SET USD_LOCAITON=C:\src\usd\builds\v0.8.4\monolithic_no-python
SET USD_LOCATION_PYTHON=C:\src\usd\builds\v0.8.4\monolithic\

The following are the USD build commands used to generate the two build paths noted above:

python build_scripts\ --build-monolithic --no-tests --no-docs --no-ptex --no-embree --alembic --no-hdf5 --no-python --no-imaging C:\src\usd\builds\v0.8.4\monolithic_no-python

python build_scripts\ --build-monolithic --no-tests --no-docs --no-ptex --no-embree --alembic --no-hdf5 C:\src\usd\builds\v0.8.4\usd_monolithic


UsdBindings is licensed under the terms of the Apache license. See LICENSE for more information.