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GenArts Buys wondertouch

GenArts has purchased wondertouch to add particle effects to its growing software arsenal in a strategy to standardize VFX workflows.

GenArts has purchased wondertouch to add particle effects to its growing software arsenal in a strategy to standardize VFX workflows. The announcement comes a day after Sony Pictures Imageworks and The Foundry announced they were exchanging Katana and Nuke and leveraging the lighting and compositing packages for their own standardization purposes. GenArts recently hired David Sturman, a videogame vet, to be its new CTO and work with Lucasfilm and other partners in helping standardize some of its proprietary software (

GenArts will acquire particleIllusion and all related products and technologies from wondertouch, created by Alan Lorence, the former CEO of wondertouch and creator of particleIllusion; he will join GenArts as a full-time developer while remaining in his home base of St. Louis.

"For us, this is another step forward in our overall strategy and vision [for acquisitions and standardization]," GenArts CEO Katherine Hays told AWN/VFXWORLD. "The SpeedSix acquisition, which we announced in January, the strategic agreement with Lucasfilm and now the wondertouch acquisition are all steps toward that vision. And really it's to meet what we saw in the market. As the industry has been shifting and effects have become increasingly critical, both because they're now used to create reality as much as one would typically think as a fantasy-driven effect or video, but also because so much of the work is shifting to post-production. But most of the players build internal, proprietary tools for their visual effects and want and need to move to a model where they're standardized."

Lorence added that he will now have the time to further improve his particle effects tools. "Becoming part of the GenArts team, I can now utilize GenArts resources to focus directly on development and I have a few years worth of pent up technology and I look forward to seeing what we can come up with.

"Customers are always looking for faster and easier and visually better technology. What they've done now is raise the bar for themselves and they want an explosion that looks photoreal so they can create their favorite episode of 24 in their backyard. "

The GenArts Sapphire, Monsters and Raptors portfolio equips digital artists with a collection of state-of-the-art image processing and synthesis effects such as glows, light rays, lens flares, lightning, film damage, fire and fluid effects. The effects seamlessly integrate as software plug-ins into leading editing and compositing systems from Adobe, Apple, Avid, Autodesk, Assimilate, Eyeon, FilmLight, The Foundry, Quantel and SGO.

Created by Lorence, particleIllusion is a sprite-based particle effects application designed to provide the most comprehensive and efficient particle effects creation workflow. Utilizing hardware-accelerated rendering, it is now used worldwide by creative professionals working in film post-production and pre-visualization, standard and HD video, commercial broadcast, motion graphics, and game content creation. With particleIllusion, visual effects artists have access to thousands of presets that they can use to create innumerable effects such as smoke, fire, explosions, watery ripples and sparkles.

Separately, GenArts has announced that the highly anticipated wondertouch plug-ins for Adobe After Effects will be called particleIllusion for After Effects, and will ship in December 2009.

GenArts technologies have been used most recently in 2012, TWILIGHT: NEW MOON and AVATAR.