Epic Games announced it has gained Quixel, a startup that created a huge “photogrammetry” asset library of real world imagery that can be used in animated films or video games.
Back in March during the Epic Games event at the Game Developers Conference, Quixel demoed a cinematic short film “Rebirth” that looked like it was someone taking a video of a landscape with a video camera — only it was an animation using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
Epic said that it will make Quixel’s bundled tools, dubbed Bridge and Mixer, and all of Quixel’s Megascans library assets available free for everyone with the Unreal Engine, and Epic will keep all the 100-plus employees of Quixel. Epic made the announcement at its Unreal Academy London event. The purchase price was not available to the public.
Also, Epic is announcing new Unreal Engine developments coming in version 4.24 (now available in a preview) that will streamline functionality for creators across industries. This includes all Unreal Studio features, including Datasmith and static mesh editing. These features, like new ways to create hair or fur, will become available in Unreal Engine going forward.
Quixel used Megascans assets and Unreal Engine to create the photoreal “Rebirth” short film revealed at GDC earlier this year. Quixel’s “Rebirth” assets are also used on Epic’s groundbreaking virtual production demo for creating in camera VFX.
Quixel cofounder, Teddy Bergsman, in a statement:
“Our mission at Quixel has always been to make the world more accessible for everyone through ultra-high resolution scanning. As part of Epic Games, we’re now able to speed up this vision as we grow the Megascans library, speed up the development of Bridge and Mixer, and improve integrations with all major 3D software and renderers.”
Founded in 2011, Quixel’s products include Megascans, an extensive library of 2D and 3D photogrammetry assets, supported by companion applications Bridge and Mixer. Game developers, filmmakers, and visualization specialists use Quixel Megascans assets to craft blockbuster games (Metro Exodus, Destiny 2, Battlefield V), animated entertainment (The Jungle Book, Black Panther, The Lion King, Pacific Rim: Uprising), and lifelike scenes through high-quality content and access to a vast array of tools.
Quixel’s primary operations will remain based in Sweden and the six countries where the employees are based at.
As Epic Games Founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, said in a statement:
“Building photorealistic 3D content is an expensive endeavor in game development and film production. By coming together with Quixel to make Megascans free-for-all use in Unreal Engine, this level of artistry is now available to everyone from triple-A studios to indies.”
As part of making the Quixel Megascans library of over 10,000 assets free for users with Unreal Engine, ten high-resolution packs have been shared for free as of November 12th on the Unreal Engine Marketplace, and a collection of assets from the popular Iceland collection used in the “Rebirth” cinematic short. It will make additional asset packs available for free on the Marketplace at a future date within the Unreal Engine 4.24 release timeframe.
Quixel Mixer and Quixel Bridge will be made available for free to all, regardless of engine choice or license type. In addition, all Quixel Megascans users can look forward to more downloads per month and more generous license terms.
So, if you’re a developer using Unreal, get ready for some new toys!