Sony Pictures Animation Unveils New Tech Development Partnership

Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse-Publicity -H 2018
Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures Animation — the studio behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — has signed a partnership agreement with Cyprus-based Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (known as the RISE Centre of Excellence) to develop technology for the early stages of animation production, including storyboarding.

Through the partnership, RISE's researchers will work with Sony Pictures Animation's tech team to develop a set of prototype tools for Sony's animation team that will use 3D and machine learning techniques. Plans include tools that would reduce iteration time for storyboard artists, the companies said. While these capabilities are being created for Sony's internal pipeline, the studio didn't rule out the possibility of offering select software to the wider community.

“As we strive for higher-quality storytelling, our goal is to create technology that allows artists to be more creative," said Yiotis Katsambas, director of technology for Sony Pictures Animation. "We do that by introducing smart tools that allow artists to explore creative ideas in ways that weren’t practical or even possible in the past.”

The partnership is the result of a personal connection Katsambas has with Cyprus. A native of Nicosia, Katsambas has been recognized with several accolades from his home country, including the Cyprus Man of the Year in Arts  in 2008; and the Nicosia Honorary Medal  in 2019, awarded by the mayor of Nicosia for his technical achievements at Sony Pictures Animation and for his contribution to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

“We are hopeful that by sharing best practices and combining our expertise we will help enhance the industry and its technologies,” said Yiorgos Chrysanthou, research director of RISE.