MDL Distill and Bake

MDL distilling refers to the process of simplifying and converting full-fidelity MDL materials to UsdPreviewSurface for improved portability and rendering performance. The selected MDL materials are distilled, input textures are baked, and a corresponding UsdPreviewSurface UsdShade Graph is created. When working with complex materials, especially those with many interconnected functions and procedural elements, the evaluation and computation required during rendering can be resource-intensive.

Distill and Bake Extension

To address this, distilling involves analyzing the structure and behavior of the material and identifying opportunities to simplify or optimize the calculations without significantly affecting the visual appearance. This process aims to reduce the overall complexity of the material, resulting in faster rendering times, improved performance, and portability to other USD-compliant software.

The current release supports the following mappings:

  • diffuseColor

  • emissiveColor

  • clearCoatRoughness

  • normal

The extension adds a “Distill and Bake” option to the right-click context menu in the stage window. You can select multiple USD materials at once to be distilled. The selected materials’ textures are baked, and a UsdPreviewSurface shader is created. The output of the UsdPreviewSurface shader is connected to the surface input of the material.