Autodesk has acquired Wonder Dynamics, developers of Wonder Studio cloud-based 3D animation and VFX software that combines AI with 3D animation and content creation tools.

Autodesk wonder Yellow Robot

Autodesk has acquired Wonder Dynamics, developers of cloud-based 3D animation and VFX software called Wonder Studio that combines artificial intelligence (AI) with content creation tools. Wonder Studio is compatible with a number of mainstream 3D applications, including Autodesk Maya, with the purpose of helping artists animate, light and compose 3D characters more easily within live-action scenes.

Autodesk's acquisition of Wonder Dynamics is anticipated to give more creators – in particular those using Autodek’s software – the ability to add 3D animated characters to their projects and stories by shortening the learning curve and automating typically complex, time-consuming processes.

Wonder Dynamics incorporates AI and machine learning tools in order to make the visual effects process more accessible and affordable, speeding up the production of VFX and CGI elements and significantly lowering the cost. Currently, Wonder Studio is distributed through a plug-in that connects with professional 3D tools such as Maya and Blender, where it can simplify character workflows.

Autodesk wonder Split Screen

Iterative AI Tools

"Today marks a major moment in Wonder Dynamics' journey as we join forces with Autodesk," said Nikola Todorovic, Co-Founder and CEO of Wonder Dynamics. "The current misconception is that AI is a one-click solution, which is why we are excited to join a company that supports the iterative nature of 3D and storytelling.

“We put a lot of effort into building an AI tool that does not replace artists, but rather speeds up creative workflows, makes things more efficient, and helps productions save costs. We firmly believe that our alignment with Autodesk will amplify that vision, and promote the use of ethical AI and emerging technology in Media & Entertainment."

Autodesk wonder Blue Robot

"As an artist myself, I'm extremely grateful to make movies for a living. We have always wanted to help other artists realise the same dream – regardless of their location, social status or budget," said Tye Sheridan, Co-Founder and President of Wonder Dynamics. "With Autodesk's support and commitment to innovation, we now have a partnership to continue this mission and redefine what is achievable in the realm of storytelling."

Working with Wonder Dynamics

When using Wonder Dynamics, the artist is still the one who builds the character, and the rigger builds the rig. Some template rigs are available that users find are helpful but, as the developers are artists themselves, it was very important for them to build an AI tool that does not replace artists. Instead, their goal is to speed up the production process and help artists concentrate on the creative parts of the workflow.

It was also important not to lose the ‘movie magic’ that audiences look out for. As a result, the character performances go only as far as the actors' performances driving them, the camera moves and lighting are left to the cinematographers, the characters themselves are made by artists – and so on.

Autodesk wonder Tye Nikola2

(L - R) Nikola Todorovic, Co-Founder and CEO; Tye Sheridan, Co-Founder and President of Wonder Dynamics.

Bipedal characters give the best results out-of-the-box, but the software supports considerable variation between the actor and the model, whether it's in the height of the character or the size in general. It is also quite flexible in that you can assign certain joints from the performer to drive different bones of the model. For instance, you can have arms drive the wings of a character, or use the eyes to animate a digital cosmetic piece.

The immediate focus for the team now is continuity and to continue to work on Wonder Studio as well as with other teams at Autodesk, including the Maya team. The Wonder Studio plug-in that connects with users’ professional 3D tools will continue to be available to deliver simplified, high-quality character workflows.