Friday, May 27th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk invests in AI-based mocap platform RADiCAL

Autodesk has invested in AI-based motion capture firm RADiCAL, with the aim of extending the platform to “support professional animation and VFX workflows”. The size of the investment has not been disclosed.

In its announcement, Autodesk described the move as part of an ongoing strategy to “democratise end-to-end production in the cloud”, following its recent acquisitions of LoUPE and Moxion.

AI-trained tech extracts animation from video footage for use in DCC apps and game engines
Founded in 2017, RADiCAL was the first of a new wave of AI-trained motion-capture platforms.

Its technology extracts the motion of an actor from single-camera video footage and exports the animation data in FBX format for use in DCC applications or game engines.

The firm provides dedicated integration plugins for Blender, Omniverse and Unreal Engine, with the FBX files generated working “practically out of the box” in other apps, including Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya.

Part of Autodesk’s recent investments in cloud-based technologies
Workflow is cloud-based: while RADiCAL previously offered a Studio package, which enabled facilities to run its technology on-premises, it went through changes of pricing, and has now been deprecated.

In its blog post, Autodesk describes its investment in RADiCAL as its “latest move … toward democratizing end-to-end production in the cloud”.

Over the past six months, the firm has acquired LoUPE, the cloud-based production platform formerly developed by Tangent Labs, and digital dailes and shot review specialist Moxion.

Putting RADiCAL in the hands of more professional users
The users currently listed on RADiCAL’s website come primarily from the world of education, including SCAD, Full Sail University and New York’s School of Visual Arts, plus animation non-profit Project Spark Studio.

Autodesk’s blog post suggests that it hopes to expand that user base.

“RADiCAL’s accessible, easy to use solution appeals to up-and-coming artists and next-gen content creators,” said Diana Colella, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment.

“We look forward to working with RADiCAL … to put collaborative real-time motion capture capabilities in the hands of additional professional creators.”

Pricing of RADiCAL subscriptions currently unaffected
The pricing and availability of RADiCAL’s services has not been changed by the investment.

Its Core package, which can be used from any desktop web browser, costs from $24/month to $234/month, with subscriptions enabling users to generate from 3 to 120 minutes of animation data per month.

Additional data can be generated on a pay-as-you-go basis.

We’ve contacted Autodesk to ask whether it is now the majority owner of RADiCAL, and whether it expects any changes to RADiCAL’s product portfolio in future, and will update if we hear back.

Updated 2 June 2022: Autodesk declined to say whether it now owns a majority stake in RADiCAL.

RADiCAL will now “work to integrate its AI tools for motion capture further into Autodesk content creation tools, starting with Maya”. No changes to the pricing or availability of its services are expected “at this time”.

Read Autodesk’s announcement of its investment in RADiCAL

Visit the RADiCAL website