At Unity, we are laser-focused on democratizing tools for creators, so that the industry’s most brilliant gems are available to all, not just a select few. And we are continuously focused on helping artists make their dreams a reality.
What we see in the extraordinary talent and tools behind our recent acquisitions like Weta Digital, SpeedTree, SyncSketch, Pixyz, and RestAR, is the core technology to make it easier, faster, and cheaper to have artists and all creators realize their visions. We want to make content creators superheroes and we intend to deliver the tools and services that make that happen.
Today, we’re proud to announce that we’re doubling down on this commitment to artists with the acquisition of Ziva Dynamics.
We, as humans, are uniquely attuned to react to human movement. We have an entire section of our brains dedicated to rapidly processing faces and expressions. Creating digital humans that meet the quality and natural dynamics needed to truly satisfy our minds can be a complicated and painful effort, requiring both expert knowledge and extreme perseverance.
Ziva Dynamics is solving that problem. The Ziva team has deep expertise and understanding of complex anatomical simulation and real-time artistry tools. Their incredible technology is paving the way for lifelike real-time characters and scalable, accessible workflows.
Ziva Speaks For Itself… Literally
Hear from Ziva’s very own digital human, Emma, who helped us make this announcement.
Emma is powered by state-of-the-art machine learning and is running in real-time in Unity. Her model was trained with over 30 terabytes of unique 4D data using the ZRT Trainer, which enables her to emote over 72,000 trained shapes and achieve entirely novel face poses. This is deep tech for amazingly realistic animation and incredibly emotive performances; letting characters shine even in demanding real-time environments. And soon, it will be accessible to artists and creators of all levels.
Delivering this kind of fidelity in real-time is ground-breaking. As Emma described in her own words, it’s the result of sophisticated technology that leverages leading practices from machine learning, deep learning, and biomechanics. It is fundamentally changing the way people make characters. And Ziva’s technology is designed to power anything that deforms, in any size, and in real-time, on consumer hardware - humans, creatures, clothes, realistic or stylized, high or any fidelity!
Bringing the Magic of Ziva to Unity
As the leading deformation and simulation artist tool for real-time and games, Ziva has become the new standard for high-quality creature work, blurring the lines between art and reality for hundreds of film and game studios on titles such as Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II and movies and TV like Game of Thrones and Godzilla vs. Kong.
By acquiring Ziva, Unity aims to further democratize Ziva’s best-in-class tools to allow artists, regardless of skill level, to easily and quickly create digital characters unlike ever before. Additionally, through this acquisition, Unity can also accelerate the process of bringing Weta tools to real-time 3D through the cloud with the power of machine learning. Ziva has already solved the challenge of bringing complex film-quality simulations to RT3D. Together, we plan to make the creation of believable digital characters accessible to a wide range of platforms and artists, at scale.
Behind the Scenes of Ziva’s Tech
The company’s flagship software, Ziva VFX, is used to digitally replicate and couple the physics and materiality of soft tissue, such as muscles, fat, and skin, enabling artists to create the most lifelike CGI characters. This powerful technology is built on the foremost practices from engineering and biomechanics, and Ziva has successfully managed to distill these complex processes into friendly artist tools that keep building complexity to a minimum. The focus is on ease of use, non-destructible workflows, and derivative assets creation. With fully dynamic anatomy, these virtual animals and humans move, stretch, and flex just as they would in real life, removing weeks of artistic labor from the character workflow. Ziva users include students, indies, small studios, and large VFX facilities.
Ziva’s simulation data can be used to train creatures and characters of all kinds to perform in real-time environments using ZivaRT. ZivaRT was designed to accurately reconstruct the behavior of non-linear deformations within game engines. ZivaRT’s multilayer classical machine learning model respects the constraints of the training inputs while consistently hitting predictable run-times and lightweight memory allocation. ZivaRT provides truly unparalleled quality for real-time deformation, even on consumer hardware (GPU or CPU). ZivaRT is already powering AAA games widely acknowledged for their best-in-class characters.
Ziva’s powerful machine learning techniques also enable cloud-based creation that can streamline character creation and save artists time and money.
Backed By An Academy-Award Winning Team
By acquiring Ziva, Unity now has access to even more of the best talent in the industry. Their executive team is lined with Scientific and Technical Academy Award-winners and experts in VFX, physics, deformation, machine learning, and more. We are thrilled to be working alongside and learning from these incredible leaders.
Ziva was co-founded by Academy Award-winner James Jacobs (CEO), a USC Viterbi School of Engineering professor and MIT TR35 winner, Jernej Barbic (CTO), and Chris Godsall, a Canadian businessman. Ziva’s team also includes Simon Clutterbuck, VP of Creative, who was a Head of the Creature Department at Weta, receiving an Academy Award for Scientific and Engineering for work on Tissue (Physically-Based Character Simulation Framework) with James Jacobs while at Weta. Industry experts like Crawford Doran, Essex Edwards, Ravi Agrawal, and so many more, will bring their deep expertise to Unity, helping us democratize these tools for all artists.
As we grow together, Unity and Ziva will continue serving the many innovative teams, creators, and engines that use our technology, while investing strongly into advancing the state of Unity tools for digital humans and creatures.