Alembic gets smaller files and better performance

Alembic gets smaller files and better performance

Sony Pictures Imageworks and Lucasfilm released a new version of the open Alembic framework that simplifies project data exchange by baking procedural data into easy to read HDF5-based files.

The great thing about Alembic 1.5.0 is that instead of adding a bunch of new features the team focused on things like performance and file size.

Alembic files are now 5—15% smaller on average while retaining backwards compatibility. Files with a lot of small objects should take even less space. Another improvement here is newly added hierarchy deduplication.

The next huge change is the faster reading of Alembic files. On a single core system it's 4x faster on average, while on an 8-core system it can be up to 25x faster, depending on a scene.

The framework also got a new tool called abcls. It works similarly to h5ls and allows inspecting contents of an object and hierarchy of settings.

Isotropix was first to release an update of Clarisse iFX to benefit from the changes, even before the official Alembic team's release announcement. Unfortunately free software is falling behind here. According to preliminary plans one should expect Alembic support in Blender around 2.8x.

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