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OpenEXR Graphics File Format Turns Up The Contrast - page 3

What is OpenEXR?

  • March 4, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

The OpenEXR format is not specific to any particular platform. Porting efforts to other applications and platforms (by the OS community) occurred after ILM released the source. Kainz said that the comments received on mail lists have indicated a positive response from vendors and the Open Source community.

Kainz talked about some of the challenges facing the project. "ILM had a long list of sometimes conflicting requirements. Coming up with lots of requirements, as in 'it would be nice if it could do X', is easy, but making the right kinds of compromises is more difficult. We had to make some compromises. The main requirement was that we basically needed 16 bits/pixel with floating point numbers."

The effort had to be tempered with the amount of time and effort it took to produce the format. "Doing 16 bit Wavelet type compression was considerably more complex than 8 bit," Kainz acknowledged.

Kainz also added that if someone wants to get involved with ongoing development of the format, the first step would be to join the mailing list on the web page.

The public generally characterizes movie animators, graphics artists, visual effects engineers as somewhat magical, even mystical personalities. Kainz was down-to-Earth and candid with his comments about ILM and his job. "The working environment is pretty normal and flexible. Not too many shirt and ties. Although when the weather is good, I might even kick off my shoes and go barefoot."

Others also played key roles in the development of the format. They includedDrew Hess, who managed the set up and launching of the format into the Open Source community. Rod Bogart, along with Kainz, did a large part of the development.

Kainz concluded the interview by saying, "As more people adopt the format, it will get easier to exchange files and graphics. The format could even be used in digital cameras if some of the manufacturers want to pick it up."

You can take a look at the OpenEXR web site at www.openexr.com.

Rob Reilly (aka: "Dr. Torque") is a senior technology consultant, whose work includes Linux, business systems integration, innovation training and occasional hot rodding excursions. He frequently writes and speaks about these and other topics. He has 17 years experience in the high technology, manufacturing and the utilities industries. He is always 'on-the-lookout' for stories and projects that focus on Linux, business and the cutting edge. Send him a note or visit his web site at http://home.cfl.rr.com/rreilly.

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