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Unity Is Buying Weta Digital

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman


Unity has entered into a "definitive agreement" to purchase Weta Digital, the tech company that created the special effects for a number of major Hollywood films, including The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Planet of the Apes, Black Widow, and Avatar. Over the years, Weta Digital's tech has provided filmmakers with incredible tools to create life-like hair and fur, facial tech, and more. Following this purchase, all game developers that use Unity will have access to those same tools, allowing them to create incredible new graphics and worlds. The move could be a massive one not only for Unity, but for the gaming industry as a whole.

Weta Digital is currently owned by Peter Jackson. The company's VFX and animation teams won't be going anywhere; these are being rebranded as WetaFX. Following the sale, Weta Digital will become part of Unity, and its tech will be licensed to WetaFX, which is expected to be "Unity's largest customer in the Media and Entertainment space." According to IGN, the sale will cost Unity $1.62 billion, which will be paid through a mix of cash and stock. Unity is not just gaining the tech; 275 of Weta's engineers are expected to join Unity following the sale. At this time, a date for the purchase has not been announced, but it's expected to take place before the end of the year.

In a post on Unity's blog Marc Whitten, senior VP and general manager of Unity Create Solutions, talked up the possibilities of more people gaining access to this technology.

"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. 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 (VFX) forged within the uncompromising schedules of hundreds of film and TV productions," wrote Whitten.
 
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Kuranghi

Gold Member
I do hope they have some good temporal image reconstruction tech they can transfer to Unity engine since that aspect of it sucks right now, its two totally different ways of doing things (ie real-time vs. offline rendering) but maybe 🤷‍♂️

I've been playing Forza Horizon 5 and Guardians of the Galaxy today and with both at native 4K the latter looks very superior IQ-wise, the forced TAA from the Dawn Engine might not be perfect but combined with Fidelity FX CAS its worlds better than the MSAA (the FXAA seems useless) in FH5, because even at 8x it isn't really covering many aspects of the image so there is still tons of aliasing and its distracting as hell.

Unity engine TAA has those issues and more and the TAA sucks a big pixelated peng compared to almost every other method.
 

ultrazilla

Member

Unity has entered into a "definitive agreement" to purchase Weta Digital, the tech company that created the special effects for a number of major Hollywood films, including The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Planet of the Apes, Black Widow, and Avatar. Over the years, Weta Digital's tech has provided filmmakers with incredible tools to create life-like hair and fur, facial tech, and more. Following this purchase, all game developers that use Unity will have access to those same tools, allowing them to create incredible new graphics and worlds. The move could be a massive one not only for Unity, but for the gaming industry as a whole.

Weta Digital is currently owned by Peter Jackson. The company's VFX and animation teams won't be going anywhere; these are being rebranded as WetaFX. Following the sale, Weta Digital will become part of Unity, and its tech will be licensed to WetaFX, which is expected to be "Unity's largest customer in the Media and Entertainment space." According to IGN, the sale will cost Unity $1.62 billion, which will be paid through a mix of cash and stock. Unity is not just gaining the tech; 275 of Weta's engineers are expected to join Unity following the sale. At this time, a date for the purchase has not been announced, but it's expected to take place before the end of the year.

In a post on Unity's blog Marc Whitten, senior VP and general manager of Unity Create Solutions, talked up the possibilities of more people gaining access to this technology.

"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. 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 (VFX) forged within the uncompromising schedules of hundreds of film and TV productions," wrote Whitten.

 

CamHostage

Member
I'm trying to remember, wasn't Weta working on a videogame at some point?

I know they contribute models and stuff to Halo games (and were probably going to be involved in the Neill Blomkamp Halo movie if that had happened; they did physical work as well as effects on props for his live-action Halo Landfall commercial.) I thought there was going to be a Weta-made game though? Peter Jackson had his own game studio called Wingnut Interactive (which was also working on a Halo, some episodic 360 title supposedly called Halo Chronicles,) and you can see that some people from Wingnut came from Weta or went to Weta (depending on the timeline and what names you look up; I just found some studio heads' Linkedin pages,) but I don't know if Wingnut Interactive is/was ever part of Weta?

BTW, there's Weta Workshop, and the interactive entertainment group there actually HAVE shipped a game, several in fact... for the Magic Leap 1 AR headset.


 
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Kataploom

Member
This is interesting, maybe unity is buying their way into the film industry after Epic got UE4 in the Mandalorian, real time graphics are not cgi level yet but for a lot of stuff they’re already good enough... also, I’m thinking maybe this is the reason why engines are rushing to get RT right
 

Duchess

Member
Wow, now I can enjoy movies at sub 4K resolutions that suffer from performance issues during scenes with a moderate level of FX ...
 

Kumomeme

Member
well if they aimed to compete with UE4, this is the right move.

sooner or later more, and more production will started use UE4 for visual effect.
 

Gaelyon

Member
That's a big move. Unity trying to bring a metaverse to gaming/social medias i guess. We're still years from concrete application, but it's the new trend. I'm not sure it's a good thing, but it'll be interesting and inevitable anyway.
 
also this metaverse thing is fucking kicking off since FACEBOOK announced it.

i'm up for a metaverse so i'm happy to see others jump in. fuck FACEBOOK
 

Fbh

Gold Member
Good get for them

Seems kinda cheap honestly.

Agreed.
When netflix paid almost $500 million for fucking Knives out, $1,6 bill seems cheap for the company behind some of the best VFX in the industry

Wow, now I can enjoy movies at sub 4K resolutions that suffer from performance issues during scenes with a moderate level of FX ...

The Weta people should feel right at home then since they are used to working on 24fps content
 
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Aggelos

Member



Dan Sarto: What does this deal mean for Weta? Unity? The industry?

Namit Malhotra: The Unity-Weta announcement is a landmark agreement for the industry. Deals such as this are fueling the progression and application of technology across our industry, such that we are now seeing gaming companies and visual effects companies come together and integrating the best of both worlds to create what the world is seeing as the next phase of content engagement and content consumption.

This trend includes games, metaverses, virtual reality experiences, theme park rides, production workflows for animation and movies, and everything and anything around that. From my point of view, we are at an inflection point for the category, as this will accelerate the progression for our industry with companies including Unity, Epic, and others.

As bigger and bigger tech companies have their own hardware devices, software platforms, and access to hundreds of millions of consumers across the world, they are going to want to ensure that they can continue to create these engaging and dynamic worlds, which is something that people are going to want to experience.

So, from going to watch Interstellar as a movie, to taking a virtual trip in a spacecraft, to experiencing what a black hole and wormhole looks like firsthand, we can now imagine and dream up what the future is going to look like as never before. Billions will be spent by these big companies to ensure consumers’ experiences and the ability to enjoy these worlds.

I am a big believer in not just consolidation, but also progression and investment, which I believe will be massive.




DS: What does this deal mean for other studios and artists as Unity consumers?

NM: This biggest impact will be for game studios, who will have access to additional tools from the film world. This is a great start, but creating content at high levels of photorealism will also require significant talent to make the most of those new capabilities.



DS: What about NVIDIA, HP etc. taking a stake in a top VFX house that has significant investment in proprietary tools that could be transitioned to SaaS products?

NM: It's certainly possible. The film world has an incredible wealth of experience in creating compelling content. More and more companies are interested in creative content. Specifically, they are looking at how to bring the knowledge and experience of some of the best storytellers in the world to new markets.
 

Black_Stride

do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
Huge blow to Epic Games.

Great get for Unity for sure. Unity games bout to get jacked!!!!!
The engine is still going to be shit.
It will be good for people who are rendering out literal movies but for games?
Expect nothing.
Epic dun give a shit about Weta engineers.....Epics engineers made frikken nanite.

Also note that Unity has bought Wetas engineers and usage of their tools.
Weta Digital the actual VFX house still exists as WetaFX totally standalone and is still majority owned by Peter Jackson.
The announcement is purposely confusing so people think the company that makes all these awesome VFX and animations in movies is now owned by Unity.
Thats NOT the case.
 
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