The Foundry (Nuke, Mari, Katana) today announced it has merged with Luxology (Modo). The two companies are a very interesting fit in terms of technology and markets. The combined portfolio will open doors to new ways of working, providing artists and designers with increased creative choice, yet they only share about 10% of common customers. Modo is very accessible 3D, while Nuke dominates the high end feature film 2D compositing market. Luxology is known for a nearly heroic devotion to artists, and The Foundry is one of the most successful companies in the world at complex workflow pipelines that can handle anything anyone can throw at them.

In this article we talk to key members of the The Foundry and Luxology teams about what’s next, plus a group of VFX and industry on their thoughts of the merger. Stay tuned for an exclusive fxguidetv episode on the merger too.

How did it happen?

John Knoll.

John Knoll, Senior Visual Effects supervisor at ILM (Knoll is an Oscar winner whose films include but are not limited to Pacific Rim, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean I, II, III, and Star Wars I,II,III etc) has used modo since version 201. Between using the product and some suggestions from fellow senior ILM supervisor Kim Libreri (currently on the revolutionary game Star Wars: 1313), it occurred to Knoll that Luxology and The Foundry would be a good fit, and that modo could benefit from The Foundry’s key understanding of workflow. “The thinking was – I’m a big modo fan and I’ve used it on a number of productions here but it’s got some weaknesses, especially with extremely dense scenes and with its ability to manage collaborative workflow. So if you want to have a large sequence with many artists working on that sequence – the referencing system definitely needs work,” explained Knoll, speaking exclusively to fxguide overnight.

That being said, Knoll is clearly very impressed with modo and Luxology’s focus on the artist. “You can do very quick lookdev, you can do things very quickly in the shot. The interactive preview is fantastic. You’re evaluating the final shaded model, in an interactive window so you can do little material and lighting tweaks. You can really see what you’re getting,” said. Clearly he is hoping that a Foundry-Luxology merger will allow growth in the products and wider use of modo. “I hope it broadens the scope of projects that we can use modo on. Because The Foundry products, particularly Katana now, are a really good platform for a collaborative workflow for management of large scenes, the hope is that we can use the strength of that along with the convenience and rapid development of assets that Modo has in its authoring environment.”

It was ILM’s art department that first started using Modo. The San Francisco-based team continues to push the evolution of the concept development process. As more artists move toward a 3D workflow, ILM’s art department is utilizing the powerful visualization tools in Luxology’s 3D modeling and rendering software, Modo, to increase speed, flexibility and efficiency. Working alongside a full complement of professional tools, 3D concept art developed in modo has played a key role in a number of projects including Iron Man 2. Knoll also likes the modo output from its renderer, he goes on to explain  “I like the Modo renderer – I’ve used it on a number of shows as final images in Mission: Impossible, Shopaholic and Avatar, and Rango, the trailer on Pacific Rim.”

The use of modo’s render technology is of particular interest down the track, especially fuzed with the incredibly powerful Katana, but for now the word from both the Luxology and Foundry camps is that everything stays the same in the short term.

Bill Collis, CEO of the combined companies explained, “Nothing changes – stability in price – for most of our customers it should be business as usual. They can go to Luxology, and get Modo from Luxology and go The Foundry and get Foundry products. We are not letting people go, in fact we are looking to hire more engineers, marketing people and sales people. The plan is to actually grow both organizations.”

The facts of the new merger and what it means today

Bill Collis.

As of today you should see little difference, both companies will continue to act as separate companies. In a statement issued by The Foundry and Luxology “brands and customers are very valuable things that we don’t want to harm. So from day one – nothing changes. The existing teams remain the same, the websites remain the same, and you can continue to work with both companies in the same way you’ve always done. Internally we will begin the process of cross-pollination in an effort to leverage the combined strengths and knowledge base.”

Summary of facts as of today:

  • No staff cuts – actually they are hiring
  • No price changes
  • No EULA Changes
  • Bill Collis runs the company overall, Brad Peebler is President of the Americas
  • Modo dealers still sell modo but not Foundry products (unless they already do)
  • Foundry sales team to sell both products
  • Trial licenses and education licenses and programs remain the same and separate for now
  • R&D will continue or expand – and the two teams will work together, all R&D offices including Venice will stay open and continue
  • customer support not changing
  • Brad will still delight users with the Modcast (Luxology podcast) and his famous personal demo videos
  • Founders of both companies will own shares in the new company, (it is not a sell off or sell out)

The Foundry:

A screenshot from Nuke.

The Foundry is very well known throughout the film and effects community. Started as a plugin company, it grew into a powerhouse primarily on the strength of its purchase and successful expansion of Nuke, which is now the ‘go to’ compositor for most feature film and much general compositing.

Founded in 1996, the company has established itself as a critical partner to major feature film studios and post production houses worldwide including The Mill, ILM, The Moving Picture Company, Walt Disney Animation, Weta Digital, Framestore, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Digital Domain. The company’s products have been used to create effects sequences on a wide range of features, television projects and commercials. High profile examples include the 2012 Oscar winners, Hugo (Best Visual Effects) and Rango (Best Animated Feature Film) as well as the EMMY award-winning Boardwalk Empire. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded a Sci-Tech Award to The Foundry’s development team for the FURNACE image processing suite in 2007 –  and Nuke separately also won a AMPAS Sci-Tech Award.

The product range is fleshed out by HIERO – the newest tool for conforming, Mari, a complete texturing solution, originally developed in house at Weta and Katana, a look dev and lighting solution – originally developed in house at Sony Pictures Imageworks. Backed by The Carlyle Group with a substantial portion still owned by the staff, The Foundry is run by its original management team, headed by Bill Collis.

A screenshot from modo.

Luxology:

Based in Mountain View, Calif., Luxology LLC is an technology company developing next-generation 3D content creation software that enhances productivity via artist-friendly tools. Founded in 2001 by Allen Hastings, Stuart Ferguson and Brad Peebler. Modo customers include ILM, Embassy Visual Effects, Smoke and Mirrors, Electronic Arts, Disney, Domain Domain and the key gaming customer Valve.

Leading to the merger

What has not happened is that either company was in financial trouble or this is being done due to a collapse of anything. This is not a fire sale, nor a reaction to anything adverse. The Foundry wants 3D, and Luxology seems to want more resources.

Brad Peebler recently said in an interview with Engineer vs Design that he was against selling the company, saying the team were fiercely independent in terms of our personality…selling the company you are letting go of control your destiny – unless you find some magical partnership where that doesn’t happen.”

So we asked him if The Foundry was ‘a magical partner’? “It’s been magical thus far,” he responded “I’m extremely happy – as a married person I understand the importance of weathering tough times to find out what your relationship really is. I’ve been describing the merger process as a really big wedding. Imagine you’re throwing the largest wedding you could possibly, and you’re not having to co-ordinate with your mother in law, but a team of lawyers. There are a lot of sensitive topics come up, where you could expect personality conflicts to arise and you could expect friction. We didn’t have any of that. Any challenge that came up – Bill and Simon and Mark and the crew over there got together with the folks on my side and we just solved the problems.”

“The other important thing to me,” adds Peebler, “was that we be able to preserve our engineering culture. We’re a highly technical firm. The Foundry very much does not have a ‘not invented here‘ mentality. They actually fully understand the value of finding amazing technology and then leveraging that to the fullest – Nuke out of DD, Katana out of Sony and MARI out of Weta. They understand how to take beautiful technology and finesse it. One of the things I really appreciated about the way they handled Katana for instance is – rather than just taking something and knee-jerk reacting and running it out to the market – they really took their time in talking to people and evaluating what it needed to be to be applicable.”

Brad Peebler.

Peebler is a long time advocate of working closely with customers and they love him for it, this extends to a regular Luxology Modcast. On one such podcast after SIGGRAPH, Peebler stated that his secret business idea, his secret strategy was “Whoever has the best users wins.”  We followed up by asking him what he thought of the new users he just inherited and if he intended on dealing these new users the same way? “I think they (The Foundry) have brilliant users,” he said. “If you look at the work that’s being done through The Foundry’s customer base, every feature film, you go to the Geek Fest every year at SIGGRAPH – they have brilliant artists. Part of having wonderful customers is also providing them with tools that allow them to be as true to their vision as they can be. So what we hope we can do for users over time, is provide an expanded suite of tools that focus on that notion of being artist-friendly. So that we can allow the technology to get out of the way…and once again have the best end users we can.”

The Foundry has 160 staff, Luxology has 30, and rather than this being a cost saving exercise, the new company plans to add new resources, and is actively hiring.

In the announcement of the merger it was stated that little would change so we asked Bill Collis, head of the new combined companies, if nothing changes, why merge?

“We think that there’s some really, really exciting work to be done from taking Luxology technology and Foundry technology and combining the two,” said Collis.  “This isn’t something we’re elaborating on today – it’s stuff we want to work on by talking to our customers over the coming months. We’re beginning to do bits of work, in fact we’ve had engineers from both organizations working in the other for the past few months on some of the new first steps in this new technology, but the main focus for the next few months is going to be talking to our customers and hearing the directions they want to take the products in. We’ve got some good ideas but we want to make sure we’ve got it right.”

Will there be a culture clash?

Many say the culture of a company is defined by its leaders.

The most noticeable thing about Brad Peebler is he is loved by users, and he jokes around a lot. He is the face of Luxology, but in many ways he is the opposite and exactly the same as Bill Collis. Collis also gives off an air of not being a control freak, of someone who is just looking to do the right thing in an almost completely casual way, and for many people they may not get past these relaxed exteriors. But it should be remembered that Collis is a serious engineering heavy weight (although he would normally deny this). Collis was at the heart of the optical flow of the Matrix bullet time. And when Peebler zeroes in on a topic, he is as insightful and as razor sharp as any CEO or President in the business. Behind the joking and self deprecating humor, both men are singularly focused on whatever it is customers want, not because they know it is good business, because that is all they honestly care about. It is worth engaging them both beyond the jokes, these are some serious guys. So the Californian American and the supreme Englishman actually are vastly alike. There just is no sense of a culture clash between them, as different as they are, and it does not stop there. The engineering teams are frighteningly similar in background.

Simon Robinson.

The ‘R&Dream team’ or ‘Brains Trust’ that is now the R&D team of the new company includes Foundry co-founders Simon Robinson (CSO) and Bruno Nicoletti (CTO), both co-founders of the Foundry, and Allen Hastings (CSO) and Stuart Fergurson (CTO), co-founders of Luxology. Nicoletti spent some time in the USA in the early days of the ‘courtship’ and returned to the UK extremely impressed with what he had seen. Simon Robinson comments, “We’re going to be spending a lot of time together, and there’s obviously an extended team around us who also have their own share of brilliance. I think it’s really going to be fun – it’s one of those great mixings where we have a lot of cultural affinity and I think we can probably brainstorm great things together.”

The problem solving and development power of both companies is impressive – by sheer numbers The Foundry’s R&D team is bigger, but both teams are lead by researchers and scientists were company co-founders and have very long working relationships. Stuart Fergurson and Allen Hastings at Luxology met in 7th or 8th grade at school, and they continue to be very close both as co-founders but also with the whole team. Since Luxology has been going they have only ever lost one staff member, “We’ve had not very much attrition – we’ve lost like one person off the original team in ten years which is pretty amazing,” says Ferguson, who personally curates the modo online gallery. “Yes I do that every day. I really enjoy that. I got into this business doing the art myself, and I’ve ended up building the tools my whole career. So now I’m doing the art vicariously. “It is pretty rewarding to see stuff come back.” “Definitely” adds Allen Hastings, “I’m frequently amazed.”

Allen Hastings.

Stuart Ferguson

Luxology has strong partnerships with several different companies in the computer graphics arena, including: Apple, nVidia, intel, AMD and Wacom. Modo is itself built from Luxology’s Nexus technology, and Luxology is actively involved in licensing this technology to other companies. Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.  and Bentley Systems are two examples, both companies have each licensed Nexus technology to deliver rendering and animation capabilities for their customers.

In a partnership between Luxology and Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks, Luxology produces Photo 360. Nexus technology was used to jointly develop PhotoView 360, a design visualization application. Designed to deliver very high levels of interactivity, the software features physically based lighting, a library of realistic surface appearances and a collection of studio-quality lighting environments.

The Foundry also license some technology such as the deal with Adobe, and so the existing Nexus approach will remain, and Luxology will continue to look to expand it. In fact, Peebler speculated that he would be like to see the modo renderer in Nuke and other Foundry products some day. “We would love it if Katana had our renderer in it,” he says. “I would love it if Nuke had our renderer in it. I want Maya to have our renderer in it – I think our renderer should be everywhere!,” going on to joke that he wanted Microsoft Word to have modo’s renderer. “At the same time, we have modo users who love V-Ray. I talked to the Chaos Group and said, ‘Get V-Ray hooked into modo. We’ll give you licenses, we want you to support our industry.’ I want Mantra connected to Modo. If there’s some reason that a user feels that V-Ray is better than our renderer, then we should make it available to them, because we’re in the business of solving their problems!”.

Joking aside, Luxology can now approach some of the companies peebler mentioned with much more clout than prior to the merger. Luxology is not just hanging with the ‘big boys’ – it is one of the big boys now, and it would have to be expected that other companies would now be more willing to work with Luxology and also just buy from Luxology, now the company is over 200 people strong and so widely connected.
We asked Peebler if one of the reasons for merging the company was being able to go to other companies and now being able to command more attention?  “That wasn’t a conscious part of it, but it can’t hurt,” he replied. “Part of our business is as OEM – we license our technology to Solidworks – they include our renderer with their base package and they have over a million customers. Bentley which has MicroStation has over 300,000 customers licenses our renderer as well. When you’re going to these companies, as a small company as Luxology was, that is a challenging point. If you’re a company that has a million customers, are you going to standardize on a renderer that is from a company of only 30 people.”

It also will help with the adoption of modo, no longer is the product ‘risky’ as it comes from a small company. peebler points out that, “in terms of our ability to go in and sell 100 seats of modo to a studio, that’s more likely to happen now than it was a week ago. Our sales model is radically different than theirs (The Foundry). The vast majority of our sales happen online – that was by design. When we started the company 10 years ago, online sales were barely nascent. This market was really driven by bars and high-touch sales model – we made the decision to first build up an online sales mechanism…what happens with resellers is that they get grouchy about your online sales. We have managed to build up a strong reseller channel, but nowhere near the direct sales model that The Foundry has. What you need at that high end VFX level, is not always pre and post close sales, but then a sales support after the fact. When you’re ILM, they’re not coming to your webstore and running a credit card and going off – they need a relationship, someone they can talk to – The Foundry has that level of sales and support model that we simply don’t. That does open up a level of business that we didn’t have before.”

In game vehicle modeled and rendered in modo 601 by Hughes Poncet.

Will there be a bridge built between the two companies and the two product lines?

Does this mean that the Foundry moves more to design and away from high end feature films or does Luxology move more towards visual effects?

While the marriage has little if any overlap in product spaces, they also don’t really join up perfectly either. In reality there is a gap between the sort of work modo can currently do, and the sort of work Nuke regularly supports. In other words you could not build a matching modo pipeline to match an Autodesk Motion Builder/Maya pipeline. Modo has little in the way of effects animation and is not geared traditionally to large scale data sets or vast feature film production. Similarly Nuke is no After Effects, and while it is extremely powerful, it is not cheap and certainly not as widespread in the architecture, smaller design, or small owner operator end of the market. So will the two companies’ products grow to bridge that gap? Will in effect the Foundry products move to a wider audience or the Luxuology technology grow to satisfy high end requirements?

What does it mean to the industry?

To help gauge the likely impact of The Foundry / Luxology merger, fxguide gathered a panel of visual effects and gaming pros to give their perspectives. We talk to Kim Libreri (Senior ILM and LucasArts VFX supervisor), Rob Bredow (CTO, Sony Pictures Imageworks), Sebastian Sylwan (CTO, Weta Digital), Tim Crowson (lead CG artist, Magnetic Dreams ) and Bay Raitt (Valve Software). These panelists represent facilities that use Foundry products and Luxology products to varying degrees, and also facilities that do not.

Click here to listen to the roundtable fxpodcast recorded specially for this story.

What the merger can offer

Kim Libreri.

Kim Libreri, a noted visual effects supervisor in the film world who has for the past year been at LucasArts working on Star Wars: 1313, says the merger is an interesting prospect. “We’ve been following modo for quite a few years and have always been intrigued by its WYSIWYG philosophy for content creation,” he says. “As you know us, most of us use Foundry products for compositing and now for texture painting. Having a unified workflow from one company from beginning to end, for interactivity and artist feedback, is paramount. It sounds very exciting – obviously they’ve got a lot of work to do but it sounds very exciting.”

Asked whether The Foundry / Luxology merger could provide an end-to-end solution for visual effects, the panel noted that for most projects a single product was not likely, but that this was a step in that direction. “For the kind of work that we do,” says Imageworks CTO Rob Bredow, “we’re tending to push the boundaries in lots of different areas at the same time. So it’s unlikely there’s any single product, no matter how terrific it is, that is going to be an end-to-end solution for the majority of the work we do. That’s why when I look at something like modo and see that it already supports Alembic and see some of these other packages, it’s kind of obvious how they might start to fit together in different ways.”

Bredow does concede, however, that he’d “always pictured The Foundry as a company to provide an entire pipeline for the back-end of the pipeline – what happens after animation. This kind of gives me pause – it looks like Foundry has its sights set a little bigger than that which is different than I had expected.”

Lead CG artist Tim Crowson at 30-person facility Magnetic Dreams adds to that sentiment, suggesting the merger did not “seem like an obvious choice at first. Modo has no history in VFX, definitely not to the extent The Foundry does. The Foundry is all about effects; Mmodoodo was not built or designed to be integrated into a VFX pipeline. I hope that it becomes that because we could sure use that here.” Crowson says currently modo has a great renderer, for example, but the software is difficult to integrate into a facility pipeline. “One thing I’m hoping that will come out of it is that The Foundry will share some of their expertise with pipeline integration – and making modo better suited for that kind of work.”

Rob Bredow.

Of course, the Foundry’s lighting and lookdev tool, Katana, which was originally developed at Imageworks, began as a combined compositing and 3D tool, a point picked up on by Sebastian Sylwan, CTO at Weta (which in turn worked with The Foundry on MARI). “It was clear that the Katana licensing was an exploration in starting to bridge into the 3D world and having a kind of end-to-end,” he says. “To me, this (the merger) is a curious thing, and am very curious to see how it will pan out. It’s a natural step, moving into more involvement with the 3D side of things.”

And the possible impact in visual effects may also be one felt in gaming, which certainly uses a similar toolset in terms of 3D tools, but less so 2D compositing (at least currently). Libreri suggests the interactivity required in gaming could serve as a benefit to the merger. “One of the cool things we’ve been doing is that we’ve been exploring using the same GPU technology that we use to make the game, in the texturing system in MARI,” he says. “It’s really exciting to see how productive people can be when everything that they do – you tweak one button and you can instantly see a change. Although it’s not the same as rasterized real-time GPU graphics, modo’s approach to lighting – where everything is live, even if you adjust the model you can see a render of what you’re doing almost instantly – is a real time booster.”

That extra time is a prospect that Bay Raitt from Valve Software says lets you expand from moviemaking to games and beyond. Valve itself is pioneering online content creation via its Source Filmmaker and Steam solutions. “What’s interesting about this merging of Luxology and The Foundry,” notes Raitt, “is that you have a bunch of very targeted tools that are built for the VFX world merging. My hope is that they don’t just focus on visual effects for shots, they remember that it’s part of this wider scope of making games, mods and entertainment. Once you have these kinds of tools, making a VFX shot for a movie – 90% of that work is equivalent to making an interactive game moment or a TV show or an episode or even toys.”

Sebastian Sylwan.

From a 3D point of view, the panelists were adamant that modo was an incredibly useful design and modeling tool – ‘something that works incredibly well out of the box’ – but that a significant amount of progress was required in order for it to work with the incredible datasets required in big visual effects projects these days. Weta’s Sylwan, for example, would like to see a Linux version of modo as that is the environment they work in. And others contemplated the likely effect of The Foundry now having a 3D tool and renderer in its arsenal and what effect that may have on current compositing products such as Nuke.

Libreri, for instance, thinks that as modo will now offer a renderer, The Foundry could incorporate that into existing products, although he does not suggest they should only support a single renderer, a point agreed by the other panelists. What they do suggest is that effort be expended on proposing standard workflows and focus on what the products are good at (3D and compositing, not necessarily effects animation at this stage – an area currently dominated by Side Effects Houdini).

Reasons to be cautious (and optimistic)

Asked what they would hope does not happen as a result of the merger, the panelists were clear that the announcement should only be the beginning. “I don’t want them to think that they’re done,” states Kim Libreri. “Computer graphics has got many decades of evolution still ahead of it. Who knows, the polygon may be dead in another 10 years – we may go to volumetrics. I want to see them continue to innovate and not rest on their laurels.”

However, Libreri is conscious of the two companies’ passion for the industry. “One of the great things about the modo team is that they have a passion for the artists and creativity above all other things. Obviously, as these two companies, one’s built for the very high end, one’s for the more agile component of the visual effects industry – I would hate to see them lose that passion for the user experience. I think visual effects over the recent years has become a little too much of a technical pursuit and I really, really love Brad’s (Peebler’s) passion for how it’s all about the artist and allowing the artist to iterate as quickly as possible, and I would hate to see that lost.”

Image by Tim Crowson. Model courtesy Lee Perry-Smith.

Tim Crowson says the continuation of both The Foundry’s and Luxology’s interaction with customers was paramount, while also seeing modo be able to handle larger datasets and be adopted more widely. “I don’t want to see that sense of community that Luxology has worked so hard for go by the wayside,” he says. “I don’t want to see Brad Peebler’s interaction and the developer’s interactions with their users lessened in any way. I think that’s one of the great strengths of Luxology – is that they’re a very open company in terms of getting their users to be able to talk to developers and get feedback.”

Weta’s Sebastian Sylwan hopes the merger (and other consolidations in the visual effects field) do not mean companies – not just The Foundry and Luxology – lose focus. “You want the focus to stay on the workflow that makes sense in the right industry,” says Sylwan. “Many of things Kim was pointing out can make sense in visual effects can make sense in design – there are certainly other things where it can be a delusion of development resources if the focus goes away from features that are specific to visual effects.”

“I think it’s interesting to note,” adds Bredow, “that there’s another major application provider for all of us, Autodesk, and there might be people doing some design work in Maya, but they have not tried to merge their design products with Maya. And they have a lot of experience in this. So the idea that there is some cross-over is probably true, but…without the attention to the needs of the users to the various workflow, you can make the tools worse not better – and that’s not what people want to see happen.” Bredow is also a proponent of leveraging directly off the needs of users, either via the open source community or by reaching out and discussing interchangeable formats between applications – something perhaps for the The Foundry and Luxology to consider further.

A good day or a bad day in visual effects?

Finally, we leave the last word to the panelists who were asked whether the announcement of the merger was a good day or a bad day for the visual effects and related industries:

Rob Bredow (Imageworks): It’s hard to know in the long term whether it’ll be a plus or minus, but I’ve got to say the fact we’re seeing greater resources put into applications that are targeted towards our business is good news. That kind of thing is the kind of thing I like to see. Anything that has the chance to make an artist’s life better and getting them closer to the art of this work, rather than the technical part, is fantastic news.

Tim Crowson (Magnetic Dreams): I think it is a little early to say. I’m optimistic – I think overall it’s a really good thing. You’ve got these two really great companies who really care about their users, their products. They love what they do. They’re passionate about it. The fact that no one’s losing their job over this, Luxology’s getting developers, there are some new markets that can be explored here for both companies – it sounds like a win to me.

Kim Libreri (LucasArts): The Foundry has expanded and done a pretty good job with its products – it’s good for the industry in general – even for Autodesk. Competition is a good thing. It’s good to be driven to innovate. It’s going to cause more innovation in our space.

Bay Raitt (Valve): It’s probably too early to know, but it’s probably more good than bad. I think that as the tools develop, you have this strange relationship between the production companies in a given format and the tool companies that enable those production companies. A lot of the companies I’ve been exposed to have a mixture of off-the-shelf tools and proprietary tools – a lot of the proprietary tools slowly trickle out into the off-the-shelf space. You see it constantly with plugins. And MARI itself came from a proprietary tool that was expanded out. It doesn’t strike me as a game-changer as much as it would be when they say, ‘Now this is what we’ve done, here’s our next phase’, and that next step is going to be a little more clear.

Sebastian Sylwan (Weta Digital): It’s a good thing that there is interest, and people see opportunities in the market. And there is clearly the intent to invest and move forward and wherever people see opportunity there certainly is going to be action and there’s going to be outcomes out of it. The only reservation I have is that i hope this will turn out as a focus on our industry, and a dilution of the effort into multiple industries. I remain neutral on my assessment and very curious for how it will pan out.

Modo image by Double Negative for Disney.

The official press releases

London, 25th September 2012 – Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry, today announced its merger with Luxology. The two companies are a great fit in terms of technology and markets. The combined portfolio will open doors to new ways of working, providing artists and designers with increased creative choice.

The Foundry with its stable of award-winning 2D and 3D VFX software, including industry standard compositor NUKE, sees Luxology’s complementary technology as a natural addition.

Luxology’s innovative 3D modelling and rendering technology and its flagship product, modo, are world class and favoured by thousands of artists and designers globally.

The collective product range is very exciting, but equally important is the shared ethos of the two companies and the staff within them. Both The Foundry and Luxology have strong reputations for being community driven and good collaborators. They are widely recognised for building tools around customer needs, providing artist-friendly workflows and great support.

This union will allow us to push the boundaries for our customers across a wide range of industries.

Bill Collis, CEO of The Foundry comments:

“We were impressed by modo’s strong roots in a variety of markets – including VFX, design and games – and by Luxology’s focus on creating artist friendly, highly advanced technologies. Both comapnies are a great match for each other. The Foundry and Luxology’s products are highly complementary, youjizz and we both like our products to be open and flexible, letting the customers choose how they want to work. In the short term we will be continuing to develop the interaction between our products, which will be of immediate benefit to all of our customers. We can’t wait to see what our combined experience and knowledge will allow us to build in the long term.”

Brad Peebler, President of Luxology comments:

“The Foundry has an impressive pedigree in the visual effects industry, where its products and attention to customers are second to none. Creative industries are converging in terms of media, quality and deliverables. Joining forces with The Foundry will allow us to accelerate the development of modo, ushering in a new era for our customers. We simply can not wait to leverage our combined strength to change the landscape for content creators everywhere.”

A year ago, at a chance meeting organised by ILM, John Knoll threw down the challenge of integrating products from both companies. This initially sparked the idea that the two companies could be a greater force together than apart and the merger idea snowballed from there.

John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic comments:

“I am a big fan of both Luxology and The Foundry having been using modo for quite a while and KATANA here at ILM in the last 18 months. Their marriage is really exciting for the VFX community. Their combined technology and similar approach to working with customers is a very interesting development. I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on them.”


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