At SIGGRAPH, which is taking place in Vancouver, B.C. this week, Walt Disney Pictures and Autodesk, Inc. (www.autodesk.com, stand 429) announced an agreement to bring the innovative animation and vfx tool XGen to the Digital Entertainment Creation Community. The deal gives Autodesk a license with five-year exclusivity period for use of the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator technology, most recently used in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit film Tangled.
XGen is a comprehensive system for generating arbitrary primitives on a surface, first presented by WDAS in a research paper at SIGGRAPH 2003 for the creation of computer-generated fur, feathers, and foliage. The system advances the state-of-the-art in the with its versatility, durability and impact, and allows techno-artistic access to interpolation in an intuitive manner for artists, empowering them with a powerful and flexible framework for primitive generation. XGen was a collaboration between the WDAS production and software teams to provide its artists with intuitive, creative tools for 3D animation—such as “grooming” tools for fur and hair—so that they can develop the look of their characters and environments more quickly and easily. Senior Development Software Engineer at WDAS Tom Thompson was an initial creator and remains the chief architect of the software. Walt Disney Pictures’ agreement with Autodesk will enable Autodesk to make this technology available to artists to create digital entertainment.
“A key challenge in the visual effects industry continues to be the need to constantly evolve creatively while somehow controlling rapidly escalating production costs,” said Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “To help customers better address this challenge, Autodesk has been working with industry leaders like Walt Disney Animation Studios to help them innovate faster and to make these new technologies more broadly accessible. Digital Entertainment Creation users are sure to benefit from developments designed by industry visionaries and proven in production.”