Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Unity acquires Artomatix

Unity Technologies has acquired AI-driven game art tools developer Artomatix. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Artomatix founder Eric Risser joins Unity as a principal engineer, and Unity says that the Artomatix team is “expected to grow exponentially over the next two years in the areas of research and development”.

Although Unity Technologies is now looking to integrate Artomatix’s technology within Unity itself, the firm’s main product, ArtEngine, will remain available to users of other game engines and DCC tools.

AI-driven tools to accelerate common material-preparation tasks in game development pipelines
Founded in 2013, Artomatix launched a range of AI-driven tools intended to automate common material creation workflows, ranging from tiling and extending textures to up-resing old art assets.

Although the firm experimented with a range of pricing models and product strategies over the years, it eventually settled on a subscription-based, price-on-enquiry model, primarily for AAA game developers.

Its current flagship product, ArtEngine, includes modules for converting photos to PBR materials, cleaning up scan data, remastering old low-res materials, and unifying the look of art assets via style transfer.

ArtEngine tech may be integrated into Unity in future, but it will remain a standalone product
In comments on its blog post announcing the acquisition, Unity comments that it is “looking at new ways to package the ArtEngine capability and ultimately offer it within the Unity engine”.

One key challenge will be adapting the technology to consumer systems: ArtEngine is currently designed as an enterprise solution, and runs on “higher-end GPU hardware”.

In the interim, a new ‘Export to Unity’ node should be available within ArtEngine “in three months”, streamlining the process of exporting materials to the game engine from the standalone edition.

Unity also says that ArtEngine will remain a game-engine-agnostic standalone tool – “for now”, at least.

Read more about Unity Technologies’ acquisition of Artomatix on the company’s blog