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Autodesk buys Wonder Dynamics, maker of AI cloud tool Wonder Studio to automatically insert CG characters into real-world footage

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Autodesk has bought Wonder Dynamics, maker of cloud-based AI tool Wonder Studio. The Studio automatically replaces real actors with computer-generated characters in any footage. The software automatically fills in any missing background while matching character lighting and movement, greatly reducing manual work. Company advisors include Joe Russo and Steven Spielberg.

Autodesk has bought Wonder Dynamics, maker of cloud-based AI tool Wonder Studio. The Studio greatly reduces the manual work required by character animators and compositors to insert 3D computer-generated characters into real-world footage. The software can automatically replace a real actor with a CG one while filling in missing backgrounds and matching the lighting and movement.

The use of computer graphics in films has developed quickly since the 1980s when computers became powerful enough to create convincing animations, but the process of inserting CG characters into real-world footage is complex. Character animators must create CG characters in 3D programs, such as industry-standard Autodesk Maya (learn to use it from this book on Amazon), then animate them one frame at a time. Finally, compositors must work on inserting the characters into real-world footage. This process can take many weeks or even months of meticulous work to make the CG characters move realistically while blending in.

Wonder Studio eliminates most of this tedium by using the latest AI technologies to automatically detect an actor in any footage, track his movements, replace him with a CG character, animate the character to move exactly like the actor, light the CG character to match the lighting, and replace any missing background. The only final step required is fine-tuning of the automated replacement.

Wonder Dynamics was founded by Tye Sheridan, the young X-Men Cyclops actor, and VFX artist Nikola Todorovic in 2017. The company’s advisory board includes Joe Russo (Marvel films) and Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park). A significant effort to develop the company’s AI tool began at the end of 2020 using undisclosed venture capital funding. Autodesk has not revealed the terms of the purchase.

Readers can learn how to create CG characters from a book like this on Amazon.

Autodesk acquires Wonder Dynamics, offering cloud-based AI technology to empower more artists to create more 3D content across media and entertainment industries

21 MAY 2024

SAN FRANCISCO, May 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ - Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced it has acquired Wonder Dynamics, makers of Wonder Studio which is a cloud-based 3D animation and VFX solution that combines artificial intelligence (AI) with established tools. Wonder Studio is highly compatible with other popular 3D tools including Autodesk Maya, helping artists more easily animate, light, and compose 3D characters within live-action scenes. Autodesk's acquisition of Wonder Dynamics will give more creators the ability to add 3D animated characters to their projects and stories while minimizing the learning curve and automating typically complex and time-consuming processes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Bringing Wonder Dynamics into the Autodesk Media & Entertainment portfolio extends our history of empowering artists with innovative and accessible solutions that break down barriers to entry," said Diana Colella, Executive Vice President of Media & Entertainment at Autodesk. "In the 1990s, we helped artists learn how to use computers to create 3D graphics leading to the industry we see today, and Wonder Dynamics is our next step on that journey. By embracing emerging technology, we want to help teams and creators of all sizes and skill levels create more content, more easily, so everyone has the power to bring their inspiring stories to life."

Wonder Dynamics makes the visual effects process more accessible and affordable by developing AI and machine learning tools that allow filmmakers to produce VFX and CGI elements faster and at a significantly lower price point. Wonder Studio currently offers a plug-in that connects with professional 3D tools such as Autodesk Maya and Blender to deliver streamlined high-quality character workflows. The acquisition of Wonder Dynamics is another strategic step toward supporting Autodesk's long-term mission to unbridle creativity by connecting teams, data and processes with Flow, the Media & Entertainment industry cloud on Autodesk's Design and Make platform.

For over a decade, Autodesk has incorporated the use of AI to enhance a variety of tools necessary to help creative professionals tackle challenges across industries, including Media & Entertainment. Autodesk acknowledges its responsibility and is committed to the ethical and responsible use of AI. Autodesk's latest 2024 State of Design & Make report finds that 78% of business leaders believe AI technology will enhance their industry and 79% agree that it will lead to increased creativity.

"Today marks a major moment in Wonder Dynamics' journey as we join forces with Autodesk," said Nikola Todorovic, Co-Founder and CEO of Wonder Dynamics. "The current misconception is that AI is a one-click solution, and that's why we are excited to join a company that, at its core, supports the iterative nature of 3D and storytelling. We put a lot of effort into building an AI tool that does not replace artists, but rather speeds up creative workflows, makes things more efficient, and helps productions save costs. We firmly believe that our alignment with Autodesk will only amplify that vision and further push the boundaries of ethical AI and emerging technology in Media & Entertainment."

"As an artist myself, I'm extremely grateful to make movies for a living, and we've always wanted to help other artists realize the same dream - regardless of their location, social status, or budget," said Tye Sheridan, Co-Founder and President of Wonder Dynamics. "With Autodesk's support and commitment to innovation, we now have the perfect partnership to continue this mission and redefine the narrative of what's achievable in the realm of storytelling."

Aether Media, Inc. d/b/a Wonder Dynamics is referred to as Wonder Dynamics throughout this communication. The foregoing descriptions of the contemplated effects of the proposed acquisition are subject to Autodesk's ability to successfully integrate Wonder Dynamics in all respects.

This communication includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws regarding future events and development efforts for our products and services, including without limitation statements regarding the anticipated benefits of the acquisition. These statements reflect our current expectations based on what we know today. Our plans are not intended to be a promise or guarantee of future events or the delivery of products, services, or features, and purchasing decisions should not be made based upon these statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements include the following: the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition, including Autodesk's inability to successfully integrate the business of Wonder Dynamics; costs related to the acquisition; the competitive environment in the media and entertainment industry and competitive responses to the acquisition; and Autodesk and Wonder Dynamics' success developing new products or modifying existing products and the degree to which these gain market acceptance. We do not assume any responsibility to update this communication to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the publish date of this communication.

About Autodesk
The world's designers, engineers, builders, and creators trust Autodesk to help them design and make anything. From the buildings we live and work in, to the cars we drive and the bridges we drive over. From the products we use and rely on, to the movies and games that inspire us. Autodesk's Design and Make Platform unlocks the power of data to accelerate insights and automate processes, empowering our customers with the technology to create the world around us and deliver better outcomes for their business and the planet. For more information, visit autodesk.com or follow @autodesk. #MakeAnything

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 06 > Autodesk buys Wonder Dynamics, maker of AI cloud tool Wonder Studio to automatically insert CG characters into real-world footage
David Chien, 2024-06- 8 (Update: 2024-06- 8)