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Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital — the visual effects house behind the Oscar-winning work on The Lord of the Rings and Avatar — has partnered with software developer Autodesk to release some of its proprietary VFX tools developed in-house for its movie work.
Dubbed WetaM, the toolset will be embedded in Maya, Autodesk’s 3D VFX software which is widely used at leading VFX houses around the world. It will be offered by Weta as a subscription cloud service following a private beta test program that is scheduled to begin in late 2021.
WetaM is the first product to come out of the recently formed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) division within Weta, as part of the studio’s expansion strategy to offer professional and prosumer tools to artists across the entertainment industry.
Members of Weta’s technical team have won 13 Academy Sci-tech Awards for the studio’s tools, which helped Weta artists produce VFX for movies including The Lord of the Rings and Avatar, as well as the Planet of the Apes trilogy, which involved creating furry, performance-capture-driven apes; and Gemini Man, which prompted the development of a fully CG digital human (Will Smith).
“We are longtime fans of Weta’s remarkable visual effects achievements, and they are constantly breaking new ground building immersive, imaginary worlds and unbelievably real and engaging digital characters,” Diana Colella, senior vp of entertainment and media solutions at Autodesk, said in a released statement, adding that the toolset “opens up years of Weta’s dedicated animation and VFX R&D resources to all creatives.”
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