Khronos Launches ANARI 1.0 as the Industry’s First Cross-Platform 3D Rendering Engine Open Standard API

Simplifies development of portable 3D visualization applications using state-of-the-art rendering; Multiple implementations and open-source SDK shipping 

Beaverton, OR – August 2, 2023 – Today, The Khronos® Group announces that the ANARI™ 1.0 open standard, cross-platform 3D rendering engine API has been finalized and that multiple implementations are shipping from AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA, together with an open-source software development kit (SDK) from Khronos. ANARI significantly simplifies the development of applications in domains such as scientific visualization by providing high-level functionality to build an in-memory scene representation to be rendered without the need for low-level graphics code and enabling the use of any 3D rendering engine that supports the ANARI API. The ANARI 1.0 specification has been openly developed and incorporates significant community feedback, including compatibility with glTF™ Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) materials. ANARI has already been widely integrated into scientific visualization applications and is expected to be used by diverse applications needing portable access to multiple rendering engines delivering sophisticated 3D functionality such as ray tracing and global illumination. Khronos welcomes feedback from the developer community at the ANARI GitHub. 

As the industry’s first platform-independent 3D rendering engine API, ANARI has broad industry support from scientific visualization developers with integration into leading open-source applications including VMD, VTK/ParaView, and VisIt. ANARI implementations are shipping today from AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA to provide access to their RadeonProRender, OSPRay, and VisRTX rendering engines. There is also a proof-of-concept Blender ANARI add-on in the ANARI SDK, and NVIDIA’s ANARI-USD implementation enabling any ANARI application to generate USD output for use in the Omniverse platform. 

“Historically, visualization applications required custom-written renderers, but fast-moving advances in rendering algorithms, hardware, and associated low-level GPU APIs have made it increasingly difficult for domain experts to keep pace with modern rendering methods,” said Jefferson Amstutz, ANARI working group chair and senior software engineer at NVIDIA. “The result of a three-year effort by industry-leading experts working together at Khronos, ANARI now simplifies the development of portable 3D visualization applications that use backend engines to access state-of-the-art rendering. We thank the scientific visualization community for their invaluable assistance in refining ANARI’s design, and now we are excited to see how other application domains take advantage of the industry’s first vendor- and ecosystem-independent rendering engine API.”   

ANARI is a C99 API with C++ type-safe wrappers that is used to build an in-memory hierarchical object tree that expresses the complete scene for a single frame, including 3D surface geometry and volumetric data. ANARI provides rendering engines the semantics to expose innovation through extensions; access asynchronous scene updates and zero-copy data arrays for low frame latency; and ultimately create beautifully rendered state-of-the-art imagery without the need for proprietary APIs, all while enabling the interactivity necessary for exploratory visualization. 

The ANARI 1.0 specification was developed with full public access to draft specifications and incorporates significant community feedback, including improvements to the object interface, better error handling through guaranteed API stream robustness, revamped runtime feature queries, directly mapped array parameters, improved volume shading, and compatibility with glTF Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) materials. 

The open-source ANARI SDK streamlines developers’ exploration and use of the API and contains example applications, including a simple interactive viewer demonstrating various ANARI concepts, together with development tools including a debug layer for API stream validation and a layer for API call tracing and replay. For ANARI implementers, the SDK includes backend layers that implement common functionality such as handling parameters or object lifetime, a Python-based Conformance Test Suite, and the ‘Helide’ ANARI sample implementation that demonstrates API implementation choices and shows how ANARI implementations can integrate with the SDK. 

ANARI Session at SIGGRAPH 2023 

Bill Sherman from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a member of the ANARI Working Group, will present a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session titled “ANARI: The Industry’s First Portable Rendering Engine API” at SIGGRAPH 2023 on Wednesday, August 9 from 10:00-11:00 am as part of the Khronos BOF Day in the JW Marriott Los Angeles. All are welcome to join in person, and a recording of the session will be made available online.  

Industry Support for ANARI  

“The ANARI rendering API is a big step in standardizing the pipeline of scientific rendering, allowing developers and scientists to write code once and render in many places without needing to know the specifics of the device. We look forward to supporting multiple platforms for GPU and CPU rendering via our Radeon ProRender backend for ANARI at” Brian Savery, Radeon™ ProRender software lead at AMD. 

“As a recognized contributor to open, standards-based platforms and ecosystems, Intel welcomes the release of the high-level rendering API specification ANARI, led by the Khronos Group. The ANARI working group found the delicate balance between providing ease-of-use for application development and delivering capabilities for high-performance implementations by vendors. Intel supports the ANARI API with an open-source implementation based on Intel® OSPRay (part of the Intel® oneAPI Rendering Toolkit), contributing expertise and technologies to advance high-fidelity rendering for Digital Twins, scalable scientific visualization in HPC and more to all ANARI users.” Anton Kaplanyan, AXG chief technology officer and ​​​​​​​vice president, Graphics Research Organization at Intel. 

“At Kitware, scientific and medical visualization is core to our business. Hence, it is essential that our software stack stays up to date with the latest rendering techniques and works across multiple platforms and library implementations. With ANARI, we can leverage various backends providing advanced ray tracing capabilities through a single API. For toolkits such as VTK and VTK-m and for end user applications such as ParaView, ANARI is a huge win, giving us access to many rendering engines without the prohibitive per-engine development costs.” Berk Geveci, senior director of scientific computing at Kitware. 

“NVIDIA is excited to bring RTX accelerated rendering technologies to the ANARI ecosystem. Beginning with our own VisRTX implementation, we want users to have easy access to hardware-accelerated ray tracing to better accomplish their work visualizing 3D data. Furthermore, our ANARI-USD implementation marks a low-friction pathway for existing 3D applications to connect themselves to our ever-growing Omniverse platform – seamlessly using their existing ANARI code to translate their data to USD. Whether it’s accelerating existing 3D applications or creating new ones with Omniverse, ANARI makes it easier than ever to take advantage of NVIDIA’s contributions to the 3D visualization industry.” Peter Messmer, director of HPC developer technology at NVIDIA. 

About Khronos 

The Khronos Group is an open, non-profit, member-driven consortium of close to 200 industry-leading companies creating advanced, royalty-free, interoperability standards for 3D graphics, metaverse, augmented and virtual reality, parallel programming, vision acceleration and machine learning. Khronos activities include 3D Commerce™, ANARI™, glTF™, Kamaros™, NNEF™, OpenCL™, OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenVG™, OpenVX™, OpenXR™, SPIR-V™, SPIR-V™, SYCL™, Vulkan®, and WebGL™. Khronos members drive the development and evolution of Khronos specifications and are able to accelerate the delivery of cutting-edge platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.