The VFX Reference Platform is a set of tool and library versions to be used as a common target platform for building software for the VFX industry. Its purpose is to minimise incompatibilities between different software packages, ease the support burden for Linux-based pipelines and encourage further adoption of Linux by software vendors. The Reference Platform is updated annually by a group of software vendors in collaboration with the Visual Effects Society Technology Committee.

Current Status

Major software releases for this year should conform to the CY2015 Platform. The draft of the Calendar Year 2016 (CY2016) Reference Platform was published below in May 2015 and we are currently soliciting feedback for any further modifications prior to publishing the final version in August. Major software releases scheduled for next year should initially target this draft CY2016 Platform.

Reference Platform

Each annual reference platform is designated by the calendar year in which major product releases should be targeting that particular reference.

All versions should be considered exact required versions, except for those components where indicates that:

  CY2016 draft CY2015 CY2014
gcc 4.8.2 4.8.2 4.1.2
glibc 2.12 2.12  
(built with ucs4)
2.7.5 - 2.7.latest 2.7.x 2.7.3
Qt 5.4.x (modified) 4.8.x 4.8.5
PyQt 5.4.x    
PySide TBC - pending port to Qt5 1.2.x 1.2
NumPy 1.9.2    
OpenEXR 2.2.x 2.2.x 2.0.1
Ptex 2.0.42    
OpenSubDiv 3.0.x 2.5.x 2.3.3
OpenVDB 3.1 3.0.x  
Alembic 1.5.8 1.5.x 1.5.x
FBX latest latest 2015
OpenColorIO 1.0.9 1.0.9 1.0.7
ACES 1.0    
Boost 1.55 1.55 1.53
Intel TBB 4.3 4.2 4.1
C++ API/SDK C++11    

The CY2016 Platform is a work in progress, feedback is still welcome and will continue to be addressed until August when the final CY2016 Platform will be published during SIGGRAPH. The major change for CY2016 is a move to Qt5 which requires a port of PySide and modifications to vanilla Qt to resolve issues that impact some DCC tools. The Working Group's aim is for this modified Qt to be available to anyone who wishes to target the CY2016 Platform, and for all major software vendors to build their CY2016 releases against the same modified Qt. More details will be shared in due course.


Any reference made in the VFX Reference Platform to any company or any other entity, or to their services or products, is not an endorsement or recommendation nor should it imply any such endorsement or recommendation of the quality or fitness of purpose of that company or entity, or its services or products. In no event shall the Visual Effects Society be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any such content, goods, or services identified in the VFX Reference Platform or the Visual Effects Society website.