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Weta is the Wellington, New Zealand-based VFX house behind the Oscar-winning effects on Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and James Cameron’s Avatar. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.
Unity’s acquired company, the tech assets of Weta, will be titled Weta Digital, while Peter Jackson’s Weta visual effects business will remain separate under the banner of WetaFX.
Recent Weta work includes VFX on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and Godzilla vs. Kong. Cameron and Jon Landau are currently working with Weta on the Avatar sequels.
Unity is the maker of the Unity real-time game engine used in the fast-growing area of virtual production for entertainment content. “Weta Digital’s tools created unlimited possibilities for us to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations,” said Jackson in a statement.
He added: “Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools. Offering aspiring creatives access to Weta Digital’s technology will be nothing short of game changing and Unity is just the company to bring this vision to life.”
Prem Akkaraju, who joined Weta Digital in early 2020, will remain CEO of WetaFX. As Weta’s CTO Joe Marks joins Unity he will oversee Weta Digital.
On the tech side, with this transaction Unity acquires Weta’s 275 engineers and proprietary technology including Weta’s cloud service and tools including Manuka and Gazebo renderers, Barbershop hair and fur system, Loki physics-based simulation tool for water and smoke; and facial capture technology.
“We are thrilled to democratize these industry-leading tools and bring the genius of Sir Peter Jackson and Weta’s amazing engineering talent to life for artists everywhere,” said Unity president and CEO John Riccitiello in a released statement.
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