Kind is a prim-level metadatum that can be used to “categorize” prims and their descendants into higher level concepts than just their definitions (ex. Mesh, Sphere, Cube, etc…).

Example Applied Kind


USD ships with a few different kinds that can be used to categorize prims

Kind NameWhat it does
modelbase class for all model kinds. model is considered an abstract type and should not be assigned as any prim’s kind
groupmodels that simply group other models
assemblyan important group model, often a published asset or reference to a published asset
componenta “leaf model” that can contain no other models
subcomponentan identified, important “sub part” of a component model

You can add new kind types via USD Plugins!

Using kind can greatly speed up finding the “right” types of prims you may be interested in during Stage Traversal. Kind annotations can be used to selectively prune entire prim child-trees for instance.

How kind can be used

Taking a look at the root layer of Animal Logic ALab, we can see that top-level prims can be annotated as assembly, this allows for easily identifying “assets” within the scene. In the example below, both lab_workbench01_0001 and its parent alab_set01 are annotated as assemblies.


An assembly annotated prim by itself can contain other prims with varying types of kinds. Looking deeper in the example above, we can see that the workbench itself at /root/alab_set01/lab_workbench01_0001/workbench01 is marked as a group.


And diving even deeper, /root/alab_set01/lab_workbench01_0001/workbench01/furniture_workbench01_0001 is a component. Component should not contain any other kind types that derive from model, but it can have subcomponent kinds.


These components can then be used for efficient discovery and instancing without having the need to dive deeper into their own hierarchies.

Production environments differ, so one studio’s idea of an asset may differ from another, but the idea of kind based categorization is incredibly valuable