The specially developed software used to animate Rise of the Guardians is being given away by DreamWorks under a free licence.
Rise of the Guardians — which features childhood legends such as Santa and the Easter Bunny teaming up to fight the Boogeyman — is one of DreamWorks' most expensive films to date, costing US$145 million to make.
Part of that expense was the creation of OpenVDB, a specialised animation suite that can be used to create amorphous materials faster and using less data than current software, although DreamWorks isn't commenting on just how much it cost.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company is releasing OpenVDB for free, hoping that competitors will pick it up and help make it the industry standard.
In the Guardians film, OpenVDB was used mainly for the characters of The Sandman and Pitch Black, rendering the golden sand and black smoke that the two characters use to create constantly shifting shapes and figures.
David Prescott, the visual-effects supervisor for Guardians, told the WSJ that releasing OpenVDB is beneficial to DreamWorks if it ends up being an industry standard, saying that if this happens, "companies will integrate [it] into their tool kit. That ends up benefiting us".