Afloat 3D Production and Distribution | Dapp Staking Proposal

Introduction

Afloat | On-chain 3D Production and Distribution.

Afloat was born out of looking into the broken entertainment industry. From 3D artists getting paid minimum wage just to work on a “cool” project, to the fact that they are often not credited for their work and passion, to the competitive nature of VFX studios bidding against each other, often resulting in bankruptcy.

Project Overview

Afloat Platform and Network provides production and distribution, for managing ownership, monetisation and creation of 3D assets and Projects. By bringing Universal Scene Description on-chain in a framework to support the stakeholders of creator, project and collector in the entertainment industry. Thus, creating a sustainable ecosystem of revenue to create, collaborate and bring value to 3D artists work.

The end goal is enabling the audience to own the original 3D production asset from e.g. Star Wars.

Network

afloat.network

Stack
Rust | Substrate | Ink | zkEVM | XVM | IPFS

Afloat Network is built using Substrate WASM and Astar zkEVM, allowing us to bridge to almost all ecosystems. Emerging technology like PolkaVM and JAM is set to decentralised computation and allow for opening and rendering of massive 3D scenes, enabling the Metaverse. We’re bringing PixarUSD on-chain connected to Polkadot and Astar Network, in a framework we call production and distribution: PD Framework. The framework is built with pallets for managing ownership, collaboration, and shared revenue of 3D assets and projects.

Runtime Pallets

  • Asset for managing nested smart contracts of the PixarUSD asset structure. This includes ownership, collaboration, licensing and shared revenue, ensuring that all parties involved in the creation and distribution of the assets will benefit from the success of the projects.
  • Project allows for the creation of projects in various domains such as games, movies, or animations, created with their own utility token.
  • IP Register is a legal component that deals with trademark IP, allowing to license the IP to other projects.
  • Studio Register This is designed to support the development of projects with creators and peers, ensuring that studios can manage their intellectual property and collaborate with creators on projects.

Platform

afloat.app

Stack
Swift | PixarUSD | SwiftUSD | swift-cross-ui

Afloat Platform is built on Universal Scene Description, an incredible effort by Pixar to bring an open standard for defining 3D scenes. The Platform application is built with Swift, which has C++ interoperability and allows us to easily support the PixarUSD, Hydra and MaterialX libraries.

The User Interface and Experience will conform to the different roles of Creator, Project, and Collector, from the more advanced features that Creators and Projects will require to the simple features that meet the needs of the Collector. The UI design is a simple yet powerful system for building UI elements with a neutral grayscale and background blur, which allows the image to bring colour to the UI elements. This allows the user to easily personalise the experience with a simple colour or image.

We have identified that the desktop application is mainly targeted at 3D artists who will need to view and render their PixarUSD assets before publishing them to the Network. This is where Hydra comes in, a framework that is part of PixarUSD for renderers to understand PixarUSD scenes.

Recent Highlight
Our recent accomplishment has been to bring the PixarUSD library by Pixar to the Swift programming language, allowing us to build the application with ergonomic SwiftUI syntax and ship it cross-platform to Windows, MacOS and Linux. The library SwiftUSD is open source and developed by our Co-founder Tyler Furby and is about to be part of the Academy Software Foundation. This has been an important milestone for us, as it will allow the industry to adopt our application with ease as it’s part of the ASWF umbrella.

This is a showcase testing the C++ library PixarUSD interop in Swift with almost no modification to the library, and it’s smooth!

Mission

Afloat Platform provides on-chain 3D production and distribution for managing ownership, monetisation and creation of 3D assets and Metaverse worlds.

Short term we need to build out the first release of the Platform and Network with iterative feedback from artists and projects in the industry. At the same time we will work towards community building, partnerships and launching our Token that will sustain the continuous development of Afloat.

Long term the Afloat Platform and Network aims to transition into a DAO for 3D production and distribution, to create and publishing 3D assets and Projects to be used in the Metaverse. The community will decide the direction of Afloat.

Team

The company team consists of three founders and six Advisors.
The founders bring experience of 3D generalist, software engineering, and the development of PixarUSD pipelines. The advisors cover strategic and partnerships, Legal complexities of licensing 3D assets and IP projects on-chain, Technical knowledge in 3D software development, blockchain, VFX pipelines and Business direction and research.

Marti Staerfeldt
Xavi Hidalgo
Tyler Furby
Breven Angaelica Warren
Jack Lucas
Alexandra Andhov
Daniel Sánchez
Jacob Møller Nielsen
Lance Henderson

Past Milestones

  • The team has brought PixarUSD into the Swift programming language SwiftUSD
  • afloat.app and afloat.network
  • Lightpaper
  • Figma Prototype and Design system

Roadmap

This roadmap outlines the short-term goals and strategies to ensure the continued development and future growth of the project.

  • Application Desktop and Web app for viewing and rendering PixarUSD assets
  • PixarUSD asset pallet: Ownership and Licensing
  • Partnerships
  • Whitepaper
  • Community building
  • Project pallet: Project and utility token
  • Deploy Afloat Network
  • Presale
  • Token listed

dApp Staking Reward Usage

We’re actively raising funds for the development of this project, so far the answer we have got is “Very interesting project, but doesn’t fit our portfolio”

  • All the staking rewards will go towards the development of the Afloat Platform and Network.
  • Once we can sustain it will be used to pay the fees for Creators to publish 3D assets: Storage and rendering costs.

Appendix
Lightpaper
Video PoC on SwiftUSD
SwiftUSD Github
PixarUSD

Thank you for listening. We look forward to your feedback and suggestions to help us shape the future of Afloat Platform and Network.

This is my contact info, feel free to reach out:
Mail: ms@afloat.app
Telegram: @mstaerfeldt

6 Likes

Incredible product.

I have been talking with @marti and interacted with their demo; it’s impressive. The marketplace and tokenization of 3D assets are important tools for the future of the creator economy. Blockchain provides ownership of these assets, allowing creators to retain a larger percentage of income from their production without paying large amounts to web2 intermediaries.

I believe Afloat has a great connection with the Metaverse/3D narrative and empowers the creator economy. I support being part of the dapp staking program and believe it is also a strong candidate for the UCG program.

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Thank you for the kind support!

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Hey great proposal, one questions tho.

Could you provide more details on how the Afloat Platform plans to ensure fair compensation and recognition for 3D artists within the framework of managing nested smart contracts?

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Hey Matt, thanks!

Yes, though this part is not fully fledged out yet. I can clarify that it will follow the structure of PixarUSD with a distributed weight system of the Assembly and Component assets.

Assembly can be defined as containing one or more component assets
Component asset is made of Layers like: Geometry, Material, etc.

So each PixarUSD Asset is made of an Assembly, that is made of Components, that is made of Layers: Geometry, Material, Rigging and Animation. This allow us to define a weight distribution on each layer, component and assembly level.

The metadata of the of the smart contract with the author, owner, license and shared revenue, will be reflected in the PixarUSD asset metadata itself. This will allow us to make a check on the given asset, whenever it is used offline. Say I’m a Project, I license a PixarUSD asset, then I download it to modify it, so it fits my project. In order to publish it again we will use IPNS for versioning and do a metadata check in the PixarUSD asset and in the smart contract on-chain.

I hope this give you an answer to your question, else you let know.

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Thank you for your proposal.

I believe I understand the challenges you are trying to address. It would be helpful to have more information to assess how much your project can generate transactions, or contribute, on the Astar Network in the future.

For example, have you collected and analyzed statistical data to substantiate the issues that prompted the development of your product? Are 3D artists who work for minimum wage really struggling financially? If such artists exist, how many are there, and how many people would want to own their assets, even if it means buying them? Have you been able to conduct market research on these points?

I think your vision is very noble, but it would be a shame if you launched it and there was little demand in reality.

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Thanks for your comment.

I would say this, even if there were no issues in the industry, on-chain 3D production and distribution would still be an increasing demand expected that Metaverse will be in 3D.

Yes there is in fact many issues, so much that many people/institutions recommends artists changing industry. Reddit VFX is a good source here.

In a meeting with Breven Angaelic Warren(I encourage you to look her up on LinkedIn). She brought to my attention that 95% of all independent creators making less $10m do not exist on data in the entertainment industry. Over many years she has build a mailing list of these creators. She also told that many people are taking advantage of how the entertainment industry works today.

I’m writing this from my phone, tomorrow in the morning I will write you a proper response with data.

@tksarah I’m attaching here a document that should give you a better understanding of the current state of the VFX industry: Artists and Asset research - Google Docs

This is the Phd I am referring to written and published by Breven Angaelica Warren

Let me know if you have any further question.

Thanks for the proposal!
It is very interesting.

I am afraid that I do not have much knowledge about 3D systems, but I would like to ask a few questions.

  1. dApp Staking will evaluate and decide whether or not to list the application for the one that has been deployed. When I look at it, it says it uses a palette, but is there any state that can be evaluated on-chain?
  2. It says that JAM will be used for rendering, but JAM is still in the conception stage and it is unknown when it will be implemented. Do you have any idea of the steps to take until JAM is implemented?
  3. It seems to use pallets and smart contracts, do you have any infographics to confirm the technical flow?
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Thank you and no worries I’ll try to explain as good as I can.

  1. We’re currently focusing on the platform application until we have some funding to scale up the Substrate side of the project. The platform is definitely the right place to start with, as it will give us something tangible and to understand exactly what we need to implement on the substrate side.
  2. Yes JAM and PolkaVM is for the future and I actually think now that you say it, this should be more clear/separated?
    We have already applied to implement PixarUSD with JAM/PolkaVM and RISC-V architecture. That said I think it will be important to push towards 3D computation. PixarUSD is the perfect candidate for this, as Pixar is currently now developing an Execution Layer part of PixarUSD allowing for anyone to write logic on top and you basically have a game. So if that can be computed decentralised, you have good step towards Metaverse.
  3. Yes the framework will be made in Pallets, but we might start making some test in zkEVM/WASM: Keep in mind these screenshots are a draft and work in progress.

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Thank you for the information that serves as the background for launching your project.

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Thank you, I’m happy to hear this!

@marti

Without a doubt I am incredibly in favor of the proposal! I really applaud you for presenting such an innovative and attractive project for the ecosystem. I love your roadmap, your vision of becoming a DAO and eventually having a great community to support you.

Also, I find myself fascinated by the way you plan to use the resources we have in Polkadot and Astar.

Definitely team, I support you and wish you much success!

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@Juminstock
Thank you a lot! I appreciated your kind words and that you share the vision of the project and roadmap.

Yes I think that will be very important to utilise the strengths of the ecosystems for a project like Afloat to succeed. Besides zkEVM, Astar has such a great community and a big presence in Japan which I think can be an interesting market for Afloat as well.

Thank you!

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I think it’s a wonderful project.
May I ask a question?
According to a post on the Polkadot Forum, it seems that Afloat was not selected for Decentralized Futures. What could be the reasons for this?

Hi Marti,

Your proposal caught my eye. Welcome to Astar. Let’s discuss about it :

This is very true, I once discussed this with my fellow 3d artist in my country, some of their works were being highly regarded alas they didnt received any credit, also not being mentioned on the credit title, only their place of work. While they can’t oficially said that was their work because their name wasn’t mentioned at all. But considering this, this is the standart practice of the industry, let’s say Industrial LM often subcon to other third parties vendor, notably in South Asia and SE Asia region because of the cheap labor price.

From global economic pov, yes this is good to give spotlights to the “labor” , but how to make giants to adapt this kind of system? As the production cost will be raised. As far as I know, Hollywood and other game studios who often order 3d services were not in good condition for now.

From global tech pov, what about the A.I, as you know Industries especially visual industry (photographers, cinematrographers, illustrators, etc) are under heavy pressure with the existance of A.I. Only a few of us realized (include me and few of my friends) that A.I is very good for tooling to make more unachieveable visuals previously. How do Afloat deals with this?

From web3 pov, Metaverse monetizing currently have been drowned to the abyss after getting a super hype in the previous bull season, now it seems not a lot of people (common investors) were attracted to this kind of business model. But the infra (particularly crowdsource render farm and AI / machine learning training) is skyrocket, let’s see project like Render Network (RNDR) or BitTensor (TAO) atm is getting high cap because this kind of business model were getting enough attention. But let’s see Metaverse Network / MNet (NUUM) once regarded as Polkadot’ own metaverse project, now their condition were sinking. My question, how do your business model sustain with the current web3 conditions?

Don’t let my questions let you down or discourage you. Of course I like your proposal, otherwise I’m not going to spend time to type the questions :smiley: . My own background is commercial / ad photographer also a mentor for a photography course in Indonesia, so yes, it caught my eyes because it is indirectly related to my profession.

2 Likes

Thank you for your response!

I don’t think dApp Staking is appropriate for you guys as it is geared towards projects that are already deployed on Astar, I would recommend using UCG, it’s a much better solution, but it’s not the best choice.

Suggested examples

Proposals to improve UCG are currently underway.

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Thank you @rezen
This was the final email I received:
"I can’t comment on other applications as they are confidential, but to give some further context, the committee reached its cap for the gaming category, and with almost 200 applications, we simply weren’t able to accept them all, even some that were very promising.

I hope this helps to explain and unfortunately all committee decisions are final. That being said, definitely keep an eye on announcements as there may be more JAM initiatives moving forward."

From my view and I might be wrong, I don’t think they understand the importants of Universal Scene Description from a 3D production perspective. It’s easy to think that PixarUSD is just another 3D file format like glTF, FBX, OBJ, Alembic etc.

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Hi @souleater
Thank you and I’m not discourage by your questions, In fact I love to talk about theses topics :slight_smile:

This is very true, I once discussed this with my fellow 3d artist in my country, some of their works were being highly regarded alas they didnt received any credit, also not being mentioned on the credit title, only their place of work. While they can’t oficially said that was their work because their name wasn’t mentioned at all. But considering this, this is the standart practice of the industry, let’s say Industrial LM often subcon to other third parties vendor, notably in South Asia and SE Asia region because of the cheap labor price.

Yes exactly, this are many of reasons why we are here.

From global economic pov, yes this is good to give spotlights to the “labor” , but how to make giants to adapt this kind of system? As the production cost will be raised. As far as I know, Hollywood and other game studios who often order 3d services were not in good condition for now.

Just to clarify, we will first target indie creators and studios, then move to medium sized and large studios. Can I ask why you think the production cost will be increased? I think it will be less, there might be a transition cost, but in the long run I think the productions will be less costly. Considering that all the studios are either transitioning into a Universal Scene Description Pipeline or already have it in place. (We have an advisor on the project who has developed these USD pipelines for method studio, MPC and now Sony - he is under NDA and is why he asked me to not be publicly mentioned by name. I wanted to say he have given me a lot of insight in these large studios operate.)

  • Large studios can easily transfer assets between their own location and to other studios(In VFX it’s often multiple studios working on the same movie)
  • Large studios can collaborate with 3D artists from anywhere. Today everything is contract based which requires a lot of relocation and uncertainty from artists - Up to a delivery an artists might face a 60-100 h/week to meet the deadlines and on top of that also have to figure out, where do I work next?
  • For us the goal will be make the 3D production and distribution as streamlined as possible and to create enough financial incentives that they larger studios will start to look at us.

From global tech pov, what about the A.I, as you know Industries especially visual industry (photographers, cinematrographers, illustrators, etc) are under heavy pressure with the existance of A.I. Only a few of us realized (include me and few of my friends) that A.I is very good for tooling to make more unachieveable visuals previously. How do Afloat deals with this?

I know this topic is sensitive in the industry and has led to artist strikes etc. A.I without a doubt will be increasingly part of 3D production and has already been there for years, especially in technologies like in Body and Facial Mocap, the end of the day the A.I. develops needs to enhance their workflows and make creating art easier. From Afloat point of view we want to first utilise it to ease the production management part, one example is to use these image generation models for to helping artist create reference(moodboard). Say I have selected a few component assets, that I am bringing into an assembly asset to create my new character. It can then autofill the information from the selected assets and the artist can hit “Create Moodboard/Reference” Will then have a simple UI to iterate the direction of the moodboard

From web3 pov, Metaverse monetizing currently have been drowned to the abyss after getting a super hype in the previous bull season, now it seems not a lot of people (common investors) were attracted to this kind of business model. But the infra (particularly crowdsource render farm and AI / machine learning training) is skyrocket, let’s see project like Render Network (RNDR) or BitTensor (TAO) atm is getting high cap because this kind of business model were getting enough attention. But let’s see Metaverse Network / MNet (NUUM) once regarded as Polkadot’ own metaverse project, now their condition were sinking. My question, how do your business model sustain with the current web3 conditions?

Yes it’s very true, Metaverse was definitely not ready for the hype and I still think there is a lot of work to be done to get something that user will want to engage with. I’m of course biased here, but I do think bringing 3D production and distribution on-chain with Universal Scene Description, will be a good step in the right direction for a Metaverse.

The business model of Afloat aims to align the financial success of the Projects with the Creators.
I’ve attached here some slides from a the Deck that I think can help answering your question.


The % of fee is not final, the goal of this is to be sustainable to support the continuous development of this project.

I hope I got to answer your questions good, let me know if you would like me to dive more in depth with any of these topics. I’m happy you got to write out these questions coming from your related background.

1 Like

@you425 Thank you for response too!

We should already be deployed through Astar Studio with zkEVM to test and develop the integration for zkEVM with WASM and Substrate Pallets. The PixarUSD smart contracts will have to be cross-chain and zkEVM is a good starting point that will also allow the Astar ecosystem to utilise PixarUSD assets in their projects. We are here to help Astar projects with their 3D productions and capabilities.

Building with Universal Scene Description supports most 3D softwares today and will have ease of use in Astar projects that are working with game engines like: Unreal and Unity. Godot is not supported today, but I remember reading a blog post that it’s something they are considering to support.

Let me know if you still think this is not right for us, either way I will definitely look into UCG, thank you.

2 Likes