Unity Technologies, the Danish-American video game software development company behind the Unity engine, has announced the acquisition of Artomatix, an Irish-based software company using AI and neural networks to streamline 3D artistic workflows.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Artomatix will remain at its location in Dublin, Ireland as it joins the Unity family. The team is expected to grow exponentially over the next two years in the areas of research and development.
Artomatix’s core product, the ArtEngine, utilizes AI technology to help artists accelerate their creative workflows, realize their artistic vision and produce photorealistic content for material creation. The benefits of the technology can be applied in any industry creating 3D content, according to Unity Technologies. “AI-assisted content creation tools empower artists by increasing their creative velocity to produce better work and get to quality faster,” explains Brett Bibby, Chief Product Officer, Unity Technologies. “ArtEngine helps game studios create realistic content for the next generation of consoles and VFX studios to achieve better visuals for films, and can enable equally impressive results for creatives working in other industries.”
“From automotive and architecture to retail marketing and more, the demand for high fidelity design visualizations is growing at an exponential rate and will benefit from ArtEngine’s capabilities.”
3D design as the intersection between AI and Art
Placing itself at the “intersection of AI and art”, Artomatix creates products and provides services that are designed to help people express their creativity.
As such, its ArtEngine software solution is a 3D content creation platform that enables artists to exercise their texture vision through a host of advanced features and modules, including material processing, material remastering, material transfer, and material generation. Through these modules, ArtEngine is designed to speed up the workflow of 3D artists using algorithms that produce thousands of images based on the initial design and parameters inputted by the designer.
Artomatix believes the software tool can be leveraged in a number of industries that uses 3D content, including video games, movies, special effects, industrial design, automotive, textiles and fashion, and more.
Unity Technologies, based in San Francisco, is best known for its game engine, Unity. Primarily used to create video games in 2D and 3D, the Unity engine has also been adopted by industries outside video gaming, such as film, automotive, architecture, engineering and construction.
Unity Technologies believes that there is increasing demand for high-quality content as a result of advances in technology and customer expectations. As such, the company suggests its acquisition of Artomatix will help it remain committed to providing high-quality content by empowering content creators with AI-assisted artistic workflows. This will allow designers to spend more time on creative efforts, leading to better end-user experiences.
“Unity understands the value of enabling creators to do more, and that’s something we’re deeply committed to,” said Joe Blake, Chief Executive Officer, Artomatix. “AI creation tools like ArtEngine help to put AAA quality content within reach of more creators than ever before. By joining Unity, we can greatly accelerate the delivery of our industry-leading AI for creatives. ArtEngine will continue to remain platform agnostic, enabling creators to benefit from our AI technology regardless of which engine they choose for their projects.”
Consolidation in the 3D software market
Unity’s acquisition of Artomatix falls in line with the recent trend of consolidation in the 3D software market across a number of industries. For example, in dental, Californian 3D scanner and dental clear aligner manufacturer Align Technology Inc announced that it was acquiring Exocad GmbH, a German CAD/CAM software company last month. The deal is intended to strengthen Alighn’s digital dentistry platform.
In instances specifically relating to the additive manufacturing industry, Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing company Siemens also acquired Atlas 3D, the cloud-based developer of Sunata, in November 2019. Sunata is a print preparation software for Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printers. Furthermore, in mid-2019, the German developer of topology optimization software AMendate was acquired by Hexagon AB, the Sweden-based global technology company. As such, AMendate joined the MSC Software arm of Hexagon, which provides computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software and services.
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Featured image shows AI-assisted design using ArtEngine. Image via Unity.