10-11 May 2023
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01 Feb 2022

Unity follows up Weta acquisition with Ziva Dynamics

Max Miller
Deformation and simulation company’s tech will accelerate bringing Weta Digital’s tools to its platform

Unity has acquired deformation and simulation company Ziva Dynamics. 

Following on from buying Weta Digital for £1.21 billion in November 2021, with the aim of adding its tools to the SaaS Unity platform, the Ziva acquisition aims to accelerate the process of bringing Weta Digital’s character creation and creature simulation tools to real-time 3D through the cloud and machine learning.

Ziva’s maching learning trained CortadoRT framework, which offers fast run time evaluation of complex VFX-quality simulation and deformation, will be used to assist this aim. Ziva has used tools such as this on TV productions like Game of Thrones and Godzilla vs. Kong in the past. 

Other tech bought by Unity in this acquisition include Ziva VFX, which is used to digitally replicate and couple the physics and materiality of soft tissue, such as muscles, fat, and skin, enabling artists to create lifelike CGI characters, and ZivaRT, which can accurately reconstruct the behavior of non-linear deformations within game engines.

Ziva employees will also be moving over to Unity, including co-founder and Academy Award-winner James Jacobs (CEO), a USC Viterbi School of Engineering professor and MIT TR35 winner, and fellow co-founders Jernej Barbic (CTO) and Chris Godsall, a Canadian businessman. The team also includes Simon Clutterbuck, VP of creative, who was a head of the creature department at Weta, receiving an Academy Award for Scientific and Engineering for work on Tissue (physically-based character simulation framework) with James Jacobs while at Weta. In addition, there are industry experts like Crawford Doran, Essex Edwards, Ravi Agrawal.

Other recent Unity acquisitions include SpeedTree, SyncSketch, Pixyz, and RestAR, all with the aim of improving the Unity platform.

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