Yesterday DreamWorks released its latest animated feature with the holiday-themed Rise of the Guardians. But for animators who watch the film and wish they could do something similar, there's good news — one of the tools used on the project is free and open source. Called OpenVDB, the tool is used to create volumetric 3D effects like smoke, and DreamWorks previously used it on both Puss in Boots and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. The studio's hope is that by making OpenVDB free, it will eventually become an industry standard. "That ends up benefiting us," DreamWorks' David Prescott told the Wall Street Journal.

The plan to go open source was originally announced this summer, and according to DreamWorks' David Lipton, OpenVDB allows special effects teams to "overcome the memory limitations to which other data formats are subject." Just don't expect animation house to start making all of its tools so readily available. "There's other stuff that we've developed in house that we're like, 'No, you're not getting that,'" Prescott told the WSJ. You can learn more about OpenVDB at its official site.