Lucasfilm, GenArts ink R&D deal

Pact puts software firm's product in wide range of platforms

Lucasfilm and longtime supplier GenArts have formed a strategic R&D relationship that underscores industry trends such as multiplatform production and shrinking budgets and schedules.

Lucasfilm, whose VFX pipeline is widely viewed as one of the most technically advanced in the industry, will maintain some of the developments exclusive to its business, while other advancements will result in new products from VFX plug-in software developer GenArts.

With this expanded relationship, GenArts software will be deployed across compositing host systems at Lucasfilm companies including Industrial Light + Magic, Lucasfilm Animation and Lucasfilm Animation Singapore.

The aim is development of a consistent pipeline with real-time capabilities that offer visual continuity for content creation across mediums including features, TV and games.

Lucasfilm CTO Richard Kerris related that George Lucas views multiplatform production as one, and has been looking toward leveraging VFX assets and visual continuity -- in particular, for work on franchises that span features, TV, games and rides.

"George thinks of technology as a means to an end, and that is how we drive ourselves," Kerris said, adding that additional clients have starting thinking in this direction.

GenArts emphasized that it does not intend to get into the host compositing business. The first results of the new alliance are expected to be ready in 3-6 months.