Alembic is an open computer graphics interchange framework. Alembic distills complex, animated scenes into a non-procedural, application-independent set of baked geometric results. This ‘distillation’ of scenes into baked geometry is exactly analogous to the distillation of lighting and rendering scenes into rendered image data.
Alembic is focused on efficiently storing the computed results of complex procedural geometric constructions. It is very specifically NOT concerned with storing the complex dependency graph of procedural tools used to create the computed results. For example, Alembic will efficiently store the animated vertex positions and animated transforms that result from an arbitrarily complex animation and simulation process which could involve enveloping, corrective shapes, volume-preserving simulations, cloth and flesh simulations, and so on. Alembic will not attempt to store a representation of the network of computations (rigs, basically) which are required to produce the final, animated vertex positions and animated transforms.
The production ready version of Alembic 1.0 was announced at Siggraph 2011 and released on August 9th, 2011 by Lucasfilm and Sony Pictures Imageworks with support from major vendors including Autodesk, Side Effects Software, The Foundry, Luxology, Pixar’s Renderman and NVidia.