SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Aug 09, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — At SIGGRAPH 2011, Autodesk, Inc. and Walt Disney Pictures announced an agreement to bring an innovative animation and visual effects technology to the Digital Entertainment Creation community. Autodesk obtained a license with a five-year exclusivity period for the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator technology (XGen), used most recently by Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) in the hit animated film Tangled.
XGen technology was first presented by WDAS in a research paper at SIGGRAPH in 2003 for the creation of computer-generated fur, feathers and foliage. Since that time, XGen has evolved and been refined on seven features, three shorts and one TV show. It has been used to create the fur, hair, feathers, trees, leaves and rocks in Bolt, the trees and bushes in Up, the dust bunnies, debris, trees, bushes, clover and flowers in Toy Story 3, and the grass and trees in Cars 2. In Tangled, WDAS used XGen to bring the lavish 3D animated world to life: from Rapunzel’s perfectly groomed golden locks to the film’s lush, vegetation-filled landscapes, including bushes, flowers, vines, grass, weeds, moss, thistle, ground mulch, fallen leaves, sticks, rocks, butterfly fur, airborne dust, leaves and trees, plus props such as roof tiles, arrow fletchings, a broom and paint brushes.
XGen is a comprehensive system for generating arbitrary primitives on a surface. The system advances the state-of-the-art in the industry in several ways with its versatility, durability and impact. XGen allows techno-artistic access to interpolation in an intuitive manner for artists, empowering them with a powerful and flexible framework for primitive generation, which is highly art directable. The genesis of XGen was a collaboration between the WDAS production and software teams to provide its artists with intuitive, creative tools for 3D animation — such as “grooming” tools for fur and hair — so that they can develop the look and feel of their characters and environments more quickly and easily. Senior Development Software Engineer at WDAS Tom Thompson was an initial creator and remains the chief architect of the software. Walt Disney Pictures’ agreement with Autodesk will enable Autodesk to make this technology available to artists to create digital entertainment.