Graphics mavens looking for new technology to produce high-quality, high-dynamic range images may be interested in movie effects studio Industrial Light & Magic’s (ILM) recent efforts. ILM has launched OpenEXR, the open-source implementation of its once-proprietary EXR imaging standard. What’s more, the software works on Mac OS X 10.2, according to the OpenEXR Web site.
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ILM said that it’s making OpenEXR an open-source format to help promote it as an industry standard. OpenEXR is a 16-bit, floating point file format that ILM said has a much greater dynamic range than existing 8-bit and 10-bit file formats. The new format is also compatible with new graphics technology from Nvidia Corp., including the GeForce FX graphics chip. The format can be lossless and achieves data compression ratios of 2:1 for scanned film images.
ILM CTO Cliff Plumer said that OpenEXR provides a better digital representation of film because it has a dynamic range of more than 30 f-stops without any loss in precision, and an additional 10 f-stops at the low end with minimal loss of precision.
“Most of the previous 8-bit file formats only have the dynamic range of around 7 to 10 f-stops and cannot accurately reproduce images with extreme contrast,” said Plumer.
EXR was originally developed by ILM for use in the visual effects footage it did for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Men in Black II,” “Gangs of New York” and “Signs.” EXR is also being used in forthcoming movies including “The Hulk,” “Dreamcatcher,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and more.
The open-source distribution of OpenEXR includes a library that reads and writes OpenEXR images; a C++ class used for manipulating half values; a math library with support for matrices, 2D and 3D transformations, and more; and a sample application.
OpenEXR is being distributed under a modified BSD license. Visit the Web site for more details.