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Epic Games acquires facial animation technology maker Cubic Motion

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Epic Games has acquired Cubic Motion, a provider of automated performance-driven facial animation technology for video games, film, broadcast, and immersive experiences such as virtual reality. Cubic Motion has helped Epic on its quest to create graphically realistic virtual humans, which look and behave like real people. Cubic Motion’s part of that has been to capture the facial animation and movement of human faces, which is one of the hardest for artists to get right. Epic, flush with cash from the success of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, did not disclose the purchase price. Last year, Epic Games also acquired 3Lateral, another digital human company. Epic and 3Lateral have worked on previous groundbreaking Unreal Engine-based collaborations, including the animated short “A Boy and His Kite”; real-time performance capture and movie-making in “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice”; and the photorealistic, real-time “Siren” and “Digital Andy Serkis” demonstrations. Cubic Motion also worked on those projects. Cubic Motion CEO Gareth Edwards said in a statement that the company looks forward to the next chapter of creating digital humans with Epic, as the goal is to push the boundaries of digital human technology, bringing ever more realism and immersion to all forms of visual entertainment. “Digital humans are not only the next frontier of content creation, but also the most complex endeavor in computer graphics. With Cubic Motion bringing their computer vision and animation technology and expertise to our digital human efforts, Epic along with our team at 3Lateral are one step closer to democratizing these capabilities for creators everywhere,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, in a statement. Along with facilitating high-quality performance-driven facial animation for triple-A video games, Cubic Motion’s expertise has been integral to several noteworthy Unreal Engine real-time demonstrations, including the first Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice live character performance at GDC 2016, as well as Meet Mike (2017) and Siren (2018). Cubic Motion’s facial animation technology has also been used on many notable triple-A titles including Sony Interactive Entertainment’s God of War and Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man. Its Persona system, launched mid-2019, provides an end-to-end hardware and software solution for capturing and translating an actor’s performance onto their digital counterpart in real time, and enables immediate character facial animation in Unreal. Cubic Motion will continue to support its customers and industry partners while also accelerating efforts around Persona and Unreal Engine real-time facial animation.
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