Unity engine maker takes over director Peter Jackson’s vfx studio

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Game engine maker Unity acquires the vfx division of Peter Jackson’s visual effects company Weta Digital. The department, responsible for the technical tools within the company, will continue as Weta Digital. Jackson’s company will be called WetaFX.

The acquisition is worth 1.63 billion dollars, converted 1.41 billion euros. Unity will acquire Weta’s 275 programmers and all technology, including Weta’s cloud service. Unity says it wants to use this to enable the use of demanding vfx tools on mobile devices, such as laptops. The effect artists will continue to work for WetaFX, but will purchase the tools from Unity.

The game engine maker will receive the rendering tools Manuka and Gazebo, and the Barbershop toolkit, among other things. The latter allows vfx developers to realistically represent computer-generated hair and fur. Furthermore, Unity will receive Weta’s design library, which includes environments, flora and fauna, people, materials and textures, among other things.

“Weta Digital’s tools gave us unlimited opportunities to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations,” Jackson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Together, Unity and Weta Digital can bring these tools to any developer, regardless of the industry they work in.”

Weta Digital is best known for the effects in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which came out between 2001 and 2003, and director James Cameron’s Avatar from 2009. Other films the effects company has recently worked on include the Marvel film Shang- Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Godzilla vs. Kong, both of which came out this year. The sale and transfer of Weta Digital should be completed by the end of this year.

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