Epic Games has acquired automated facial animation company, Cubic Motion, for an unspecified sum.
Described as a “longtime Epic partner and collaborator”, Cubic Motion – which was founded in 2009 and generates automated performance-driven facial animation services for games, film, and broadcast – has been used in a number of triple-A titles, including the rebooted God of War, Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Cubic says it will “continue pushing real-time facial capture and accelerate digital human production with Unreal Engine”, while Epic states the acquisition “underscores [Epic’s] commitment to advancing the state of the art in the creation of believable digital humans for all Unreal Engine users”.
“We are delighted to be joining Epic Games and look forward with excitement to this next chapter in our story,” said Cubic Motion CEO, Dr. Gareth Edwards. “Together, we are uniquely positioned to push the boundaries of digital human technology, bringing ever more realism and immersion to all forms of visual entertainment.”
“Digital humans are not only the next frontier of content creation, but also the most complex endeavor in computer graphics,” added Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. “With Cubic Motion bringing their computer vision and animation technology and expertise to our digital human efforts, Epic along with our team at 3Lateral are one step closer to democratizing these capabilities for creators everywhere.”
“Facial animation that conveys the slightest nuance of human expression is essential to crossing the uncanny valley,” said Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri. “We believe that holistically combining Epic’s Unreal Engine with 3Lateral’s facial rig creation and Cubic Motion’s solving technology is the only way to answer this challenge, and ultimately, to reach the pinnacle of digital human artistry with Unreal Engine.”
Epic Games recently acquired photogrammetry asset library Megascans, Quixel. Founded in 2011, Sweden-based Quixel employs over 100 people across six countries worldwide. As well as Megascans, Quixel’s products are supported by companion applications Bridge and Mixer (not to be confused with Microsoft’s streaming service of the same name). All of Quixel’s 100+ employees will now join the Epic team.
Epic also acquired real-time 3D architectural software, Twinmotion, last May. Twinmotion – which helps bring architecture, construction, urban planning, or landscaping projects to life via “high-quality real-time visualisation” – had previously been owned by Abvent. Following the acquisition, the software has had “a small number of features […] removed or changed”, but from now until the end of Q1 2020, it’s available for free for all UE customers, and “yours to keep using indefinitely after that”.