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Weta Digital is one of the most accomplished visual-effects teams in the world. And now Unity is acquiring Weta’s tools with the goal of putting them into the hands of artists around the world. This means game creators, filmmakers, and other artists will have access to a long list of powerful software for building digital characters, simulating the movement of smoke and light, and much more.
The team of artists at Weta will continue to work independently from Unity as the new WetaFX team. And that studio will now license its tools from Unity. But going forward, Unity will take on the task of marketing and productizing Weta’s core technologies. Unity is also bringing in Weta’s engineering team. Unity paid $1.62 billion in cash and stock.
“The unified tools and the incredible scientists and technologists of Weta Digital will accelerate our mission to give content creators easy to use and high-performance tools to bring their visions to life,” Unity general manager Marc Whitten writes in a blog post. “This pipeline has been developed with an artists-first mentality, and the result is an incredible set of tools capable of the pinnacle of visual effects forged within the uncompromising schedules of hundreds of film and TV productions.”
Unity’s main competitor Epic has built a presence in Hollywood with tools that powered the entire production of Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian. With this acquisition, Unity could quickly catch up to that. But This move goes beyond that.
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“Our goal is to put these world-class, exclusive VFX tools into the hands of millions of creators and artists around the world,” writes Whitten. “And enable the next generation of real-time 3D creativity. Whatever the metaverse is or will be, we believe it will be built by content creators, just like you.”