Autodesk Buys Wonder Dynamics, AI VFX App Wonder Studio

Autodesk is going all-in on artificial intelligence with the acquisition of AI startup Wonder Dynamics, maker of the Wonder Studio VFX tool. Autodesk — whose products include Maya, 3ds Max and Flame — worked with Wonder on a Maya plug-in last year and appears to have been impressed. Wonder Studio was purpose-built to be compatible with 3D tools like Maya, largely automating the process of putting 3D characters within live-action scenes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Autodesk did not detail plans for integrating Wonder Dynamics, but it’s likely the company’s AI expertise will make itself felt across the portfolio.

Wonder Dynamics was founded by visual effects artist Nikola Todorovic and actor and producer Tye Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”), who are CEO and president, respectively.

Wonder Studio “basically made adding motion-captured CG characters to footage as simple as dragging an icon onto an actor,” reports TechCrunch, which first wrote about the company in 2021, after the team raised $2.5 million in seed funding.

“They raised an additional $10 million later that year and eventually developed Wonder Studio into a fully cloud-hosted, web-based platform,” notes TechCrunch. The company officially launched last year.

“We’ve been trying to bridge the old with the new, making things possible in the pipelines that artists already use, and this partnership is the perfect example of that,” Sheridan tells TechCrunch. Founded 42-years ago, Autodesk went public on the Nasdaq in 1985. The company’s current market cap is just over $47 billion.

Autodesk has been investing in AI for some time, and this month announced Project Bernini, a research effort focused on generative 3D imagery. The Wonder acquisition now gives it a commercial product to tout to investors.

“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,” Autodesk explains in an announcement.

Todorovic and Sheridan say “their priorities are to continue developing their tool and to ensure that ‘customers have as little impact from the acquisition as possible,’” reports 3DVF, noting that “for now, support, platform registration and subscription remain unchanged.”

Wonder Studio will also continue to integrate with non-Autodesk solutions like Blender and Unreal.

With the support of Autodesk and its media and entertainment EVP Diana Colella, Todorovic tells VFX Guide, which interviewed the duo, they now have the resources “to continue this mission at scale and redefine the narrative of what’s achievable in the realm of storytelling.”

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