From the press releases on NVIDIA site and Mental Images, the chip maker based in Santa Clara, CA has bought Mental Images (Berlin, Germany), makers of Mental Ray. Cash or share details of the transaction are yet to be published. NVIDIA has seen its share price swing between $25 a share to $37 and back to around $34.50 at close of trading today. NVIDIA has been out performing the Dow Jones Industrial over the period and trading at a forward P/E of 27.10 – so the company appears in good shape and well placed to build on Mental Images already very solid user base.
Clearly the move to owning Mental Images will be significant for future visual effects development, but sources wonder if this also could mean Mental Images moving further into Gaming, a big market for the GPU chip maker. NVIDIA currently holds a 38% share of Desktop Graphics systems. Mental images was awarded an Academy Award for their contributions to the film industry in 2003 for their mental ray rendering software. (image Erik Anderson : Rendered with mental ray)
From the NVIDIA site:
mental images, founded in 1986, is the recognized leader and de facto industry standard for visualization software for the entertainment, computer-aided design, scientific visualization, architecture, and other industries that require sophisticated images. The company’s core product is the Academy AwardÂ®-winning photorealistic rendering software mental rayÂ® which runs on a wide variety of platforms ranging from networks of workstations to parallel supercomputers, producing images of unsurpassed realism.
mental ray is the integrated rendering technology within such leading Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Digital Content Creation (DCC) software products as Autodesk’s AutoCADÂ®, AutodeskÂ® 3ds MaxÂ®, AutodeskÂ® MayaÂ®, Dassault Systems CATIAÂ® and Solidworks Â®, and AVID SoftimageÂ®|XSIÂ®.
In addition, leading visual effects (VFX) companies and studios, such as Buf Compagnie, Digital Domain, DreamWorks Animation, Lucasfilm, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rainmaker, The Mill, The Moving Picture Company and The Orphanage are among mental images’s largest customers. In the automotive, aerospace, advertising and other industries, mental ray is used extensively for product simulation and visualization.
mental images, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NVIDIA and operates under its brand and leadership team, including founder Rolf Herken as the CEO/CTO, from its headquarters in Berlin, Germany as well as its other worldwide locations in Europe, North America, and Australia.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary, mental images has autonomy in running its day-to-day business and continues to serve its customers in the dedicated manner it is known for. mental images develops and serves new business opportunities with its software and solutions business, including mental ray, mental millÂ® and RealityServerÂ®, the platform product for the deployment of 3D web applications and application services.
The combination of mental images and NVIDIA united some of the greatest talents in the visual computing industry. This strategic combination enables the development of tools and technologies to advance the state of visualization. These solutions are optimized for next generation computing architectures and create new product categories for both hardware and software solutions.