Behold a new era of digital twins and virtual worlds

Mention metaverse and different ones may have a different idea of what it is. Is it one big virtual world? Is it a place for people to collaborate online? What can it really do?

Perhaps one of the best explanations is that given by NVIDIA’s Richard Kerris at his presentation at Computex Forum in Taipei this week.

“The metaverse is the network. The network is the next generation of the web, which will be 3D. We are all excited about it because the idea of being able to go from one virtual world to another virtual world seamlessly means that we are going to have a lot more capability in what we do and how we do it,” said the Vice President of Omniverse Developer Platform at NVIDIA.

“At NVIDIA, we believe virtual worlds are essential for the next era of AI. They will be used for things like training robots and autonomous vehicles, digital twins where you can monitor and manage a factory. Even whole cities will be done as a digital twin as we have seen with some of our customers. And the big thing that we are working on is Earth-2, which will be making a digital twin of the entire earth,” he added.

Kerris was speaking on “A New Era of Digital Twins and Virtual Worlds with NVIDIA Omniverse”. Here’s what he shared about the enormous opportunities simulation brings to 3D workflows and the next evolution of AI.

Virtual worlds are essential to the new AI era

3D workflows today

3D workflows require teams to hold an arsenal of extremely specific and wide range of skills. These artists, designers, engineers, or visualisation experts are often part of the hybrid workforce working remotely or spread around the world. Each skill or expertise requires its own system set up from laptop to data centre, physical or virtualised, and each discipline requires its own software applications.

Today, more than 36 companies are selling over 50 CAD tools with countless more being launched annually, and these are specialised CAD programs for specific industries, regions or tasks. Every major design software company has its own independent planetary system of add-ons, adjacent products, and customisations, and they are often incompatible. This leads to workflows plagued with tedious import and export often causing model decimation, mistakes, and time lost. This has often forced customers to unwillingly adopt integrated products from the same vendors which can limit productivity, creativity, and the ability of teams.

Heavy 3D production pipelines are becoming increasingly complex as artists, designers, engineers, and researchers integrate technologies like global illumination, real time rate tracing, AI, compute, and engineering simulation into their daily workflow.

In M&E, the growing expectation for high quality content means that firms are spending upwards of six and a half billion compute hours per year rendering content. In AEC, advanced technologies in perfectly physical, accurate visualisations are quickly becoming crucial to an industry that is expected to breach 12.9 trillion dollars in the next year. Today, a 3D artist typically works sequentially across multiple applications like 3ds max for modeling, then Substance Painter for texturing, and finally Unreal Engine to arrange the scene, exporting large files many times along the way.

Future of 3D content creation

Now with Omniverse, artists connect their apps and then compose the combined scene using Omniverse Create. And once in Omniverse, an artist can draw on NVIDIA’s superpowers like Physics which lets artists use true to reality simulations that obey the laws of physics and RTX Render to see their scene rendered in real time, fully RTX ray or path traced. Omniverse also lets you collaborate with other artists and from across the room or across the globe connecting their favourite apps into a single, shared scene. Changes made by one designer are reflected back to the other artists, like working on a cloud shared document, but in 3D. This is the future of 3D content creation and how virtual worlds will be built.

Onmiverse runs on NVIDIA RTX

Now, how are we going to do these things? That’s what Omniverse is all about. We built Omniverse to be the connector of these virtual worlds. You can think of it as two parts of a journey.

The first part is the creation where you create content or virtual worlds using tools you are familiar with today, connected live to the platform of Omniverse so that you can collaborate with creators and designers across the globe.

The second part is the operation of those things that you created in a digital twin scenario, so that you can manage them in real time and understand what’s taking place in the synthetic world and how it relates to the physical world.

What makes Omniverse possible

Omniverse has not been possible until now, and there are four main points that have made that possible.

The first is RTX technology, the ability to have real, true to reality simulation in real time on a laptop all the way up to servers and even in the cloud. RTX is the technology at the very core for photorealistic, real-time rendering.

The next thing is being able to scale these GPUs together so that we can handle very large and extremely large data sets. So whether you’re working on a project that’s an environment or a project that’s an entire city or even the grand project that we are working on with Earth-2, we have the ability to scale this RTX technology so that the true to reality simulation can scale with it as well.

Now the third key thing is universal scene description (USD). Pixar’s USD is the foundation for Omniverse. The open source 3D description and file format is easily extensible. USD can be thought of as the HTML of 3D. Originally developed to simplify content creation and the interchange of assets between different industry software tools, USD began in the visual effects industry to enable collaboration across globally spread teams.

Today it’s becoming widely adopted across all visual industries including architecture and engineering, manufacturing, product design, and robotics. With open standards from USD and leading edge acceleration from NVIDIA, the Omniverse platform harnesses both broad support for third party software vendors across industries and the power unique to NVIDIA technologies such as ray tracing, simulation, and material libraries. It will enable consistent 3D experiences of virtual worlds no matter what kind of industry they’re in or no matter what kind of content is being presented, so you’ll have a seamless ability to teleport from world to world.

And the fourth key point is the AI revolution. AI allows us to do many things with these virtual worlds. We can use AI to train robots in the virtual world. We can use it to simulate true to reality things like weather patterns and how that might affect things that we’re building in the physical world. It even allows us to do things like create a time machine where you can look at the past that’s taken place and use that information to project what may take place in the future. And you can even change the variables of that, so you can have a more complete understanding of all the things that may or may not take place in the physical world by studying them in the digital world.

We built Omniverse to run on RTX. That means it can run on a laptop all the way to a workstation or a data centre and beyond. And most recently we announced OVX, a computing system dedicated to Omniverse that can start with a workstation and scale all the way up to a Superpod, handling enormous amounts of data to have true to reality simulation at any scale.

Omniverse is a platform that serves developers, that serves creators and designers, and even enterprises. Now for developers, it’s free to develop on and free to deploy anything that you create for Omniverse whether you’re connecting with an extension or connecting to an existing app or modifying the application or even building applications on the platform. Omniverse for developers is a rich and robust environment with modern tools for you to create right out of the box.

The next thing is Omniverse for creators and designers. This is where designers can create and work together in the tools that they are already using and connect to Omniverse and be able to collaborate with other artists and designers whether it’s across the room or across the globe. You have the ability to work in real time and work in the virtual environments as if you are all together at the same time.

And we have Omniverse Enterprise. Omniverse for enterprises is for those companies who are leveraging the platform for design collaboration and building and managing digital twins. Omniverse can be thought of as a network of networks, and what we mean by that is you can connect existing applications that you’re using today to take advantage of all the things the platform has to offer, you can extend the platform to customise it to meet your needs, and you can even build applications on top of the platform. And we’ve seen a number of companies that are already doing this.

We have 82 connectors as of today and more coming all the time. They are connecting their asset libraries, applications and all sorts of things like that. Plus, we have had more than 160,000 downloads of Omniverse for individuals who are taking the product and using it in a wide variety of ways. And we are seeing amazing work being done that’s shared on all the different types of social networks that are out there today.

The Omniverse stack is built for maximum flexibility and scalability. By building and leveraging Omniverse, developers can harness over 20 years of NVIDIA technology in rendering, simulation and AI. They can integrate it into their existing apps or they can build their own apps and services.

Now, once you’re connected to the platform, you get to harness all of the power that we have been talking about with Omniverse, like physics, to understand how things are going to behave in the digital world. Using things like water, smoke, fire and adding them into the workflows that you are currently using.

Building digital twins

The key thing is that with Omniverse, you extend and enhance your existing workflows. The second part is the operation or the digital twin. A digital twin is a physically accurate simulation of the real world in a virtual environment, and it brings with it all sorts of capabilities.

All types of industries will use digital twins to understand how they’re manufacturing something, how the operation of that device will take place afterwards, and all kinds of scenarios that they would not have been able to imagine before.

There are many steps to building a digital twin, and today Omniverse Enterprise customers can start with the building blocks. First is full fidelity visualisation. This is true to reality 3D simulation of what’s taking place in the virtual world, identical to what’s happening in the physical world. Enterprises can, for the first time, aggregate 3D data sets from disparate design and CAD softwares and visualise them in real time. And they can leverage the Omniverse’s platform multi-GPU rendering for extremely large data sets.

You can also build custom 3D tools and pipelines. One of the most difficult constraints of 3D simulations is the disconnected, disparate, incompatible tools and data sets that teams must connect. Omniverse is an easily extensible development platform that provides building blocks for enterprises to build their own plug-ins and tools to enhance and extend their existing workflows without the need to rebuild their entire existing pipeline.

Lastly, many of our digital twin customers already have robotic perception systems in place or are planning to deploy them. Robotic systems require large amounts of physically accurate synthetic data to better train and optimise their performance in the real world.

With Omniverse, enterprises can leverage the platform to generate synthetic data that is indistinguishable from reality, reducing training time and increasing the AI system’s accuracy in the real world.

We have many customers across all types of industries who are already using Omniverse to connect their 3D workflows. Customers like Amazon Robotics and BMW are using Omniverse to build digital twins of their warehouses and factories. Companies like DNEG are using Omniverse to do pre-visualisation for the work that they are doing in the media and entertainment space.

Available now

Omniverse is available for customers and developers around the world. Omniverse Enterprise is on NVIDIA Launchpad which provides a free two-week trial where you can harness the power of Omniverse on NVIDIA certified systems. You can also request a free 30-day evaluation period. And finally Omniverse for Developers is available today at It’s a free to download and free to develop on the platform.

Omniverse technology will transform the way you create.