This week something happened that surely took everyone by surprise. Unity, the videogame engine developer, has acquired Weta Digital. In case you don’t know what Weta Digital is, it’s the company behind the visual effects of many big budget movies like The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Planet of The Apes, Alita Battle Angel and Avatar.
According to the Unity announcement, Unity has specifically acquired “artist tools, core pipeline, intellectual property and engineering talent.” However, Weta Digital will continue to work as a standalone entity known as WetaFX. Plus, they say they plan to combine their talent and knowledge “to unlock the full potential of the metaverse.”
Apparently, they plan to take advantage of the tools that have been developed by Weta Digital, and make them available to their users so they can create high end content using the Unity engine.
The announcement also lists a wide variety of tools that Weta Digital has developed for years for different projects. I wonder if these tools will be implemented into Unity somehow. Among these tools you can see rendering tools (including real-time rendering), physics and fluid simulations, facial animation, hair simulation, skin simulation (meaning giving your characters realistic skin simulation with tissue sliding, stretching, etc.) vegetation and virtual production tools.
Unity and Weta also plan to enable all these tools for the cloud, and integrate them with tools artists already use.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you will see everyone making their own Avatar movie. While some of these tools are software-only, some others still require a lot of technical know-how or special hardware. Still, I’m definitely curious to see what the collaboration between these two companies brings to the world. It will be interesting to see what high-end users do with the tools that will become available.
Read the full announcement: https://blog.unity.com/news/welcome-weta-digital