Sony Pictures Open-Sources Software That Made ‘Into the Spider-Verse’

Sony Pictures Imageworks has made available to the open source community the same software that was used to churn out the popular Hollywood hit ‘Into the Spider-Verse.’ The company decided to make the software available to the open source community by contributing it the Academy Software Foundation, an open source associated that’s led by the Linux Foundation.

OpenColorIO, a tool which is mainly used for color management during the production process, has previously been used on a wide range of popular films, including “Alice in Wonderland” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” By contributing the software tool to the Academy Software Foundation, it’s now effectively open to anybody in the public who wishes to use it.

Senior executives at the company hinted that they hoped the move would encourage the public to determine the future of the software tool, which gained public prominence because of the vivid colors it helped produce in the “Into the Spider-Verse” box office hit that has already earned over $183 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo.

“We want to contribute OpenColorIO back to the community that relies on it, and the Academy Software Foundation is the natural fit,” Michael Ford, vice president and head of software development at Sony Pictures Imageworks, said per Yahoo Finance. “The developers and companies that use it every day will guide the project roadmap, starting with the features and release cadence for the new 2.0 version.”

into the Spider-Verse. Photo by chirinecarlao. (CC BY 2.0)
Spider-Verse. Photo by chirinecarlao. CC BY 2.0

The OpenColorIO tool was only one of many used to produce animated hits like ‘Into the Spider-Verse,’ though Hollywood insiders like Ford hope that by open-sourcing the software they can encourage a grassroots creative revolution in animation. The Academy Software Foundation has already accrued a sizable following in the tech and media world thanks to similar open-source endeavors and has been joined by other big-name companies besides Sony.

Companies like Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Google Cloud, and Walt Disney Studios were also involved in the formation of the Academy, which helps community-based creators navigate complex software development outsourcing licensing laws as they try to use professional software. Sony Pictures Imageworks only joined the Academy last fall, helping the premier open source group in Hollywood gain additional prestige and financial support.

“The Academy Software Foundation was founded based on the recognition of a growing need in the industry to support key open source projects,” Andrew Pearce, a vice president at DreamWorks, told Variety.