Irish-American startup Artomatix announces the release of Materialize, a Cloud-based service focused on solving the issues digital artists meet with textures, the ‘skin’ of 3D models and environments.
Texturing is both a field of expertise in 3D digital art creation and a major stake on the road to industrial creation of 3D content. According to adjusted LinkedIn data, an estimated 211,000 artists create and apply textures on 3D models and environments, for industries like video games (41,000 artists) or animation (40,000). For instance, texturing represents 28% of the €4.3bn visual art creation for video games market, or €1.2bn.
Artomatix Materialize positions itself as the first solution that automatically generates textures for artists. It currently focuses on the eternal problems of obvious repeats and of seam artifacts linked to tiling, and will become increasingly vertically integrated as it will help artists scan textures from nature and paint directly on-model in the future. It connects with leading art creation software Photoshop and game engines Unity, Unreal.
Artomatix relies on over ten years of research from Dr. Eric Risser, a Columbia University and Trinity College Dublin alumni who specializes in “Example-Based Art Creation”, a form of Artificial Intelligence which automatically generates art based on inputs the user provides. It was created in March 2014 by Dr. Risser and Neal O’Gorman, the company’s CEO and a serial entrepreneur, whose third company it is. Chaired by Steve Collins, co-founder of Havok and Swrve. Artomatix won the 2015 edition of NVIDIA’s Early Stage challenge, and was the first Irish startup presented as a finalist of TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, in 2016.
“Launching Materialize on St. Patrick’s Day, at GDC, the biggest game conference in the World is a very special moment for all of us at Artomatix”, states Neal O’Gorman, Artomatix’s CEO. “Our company is working really hard to unleash the potential of automated art creation through Artificial Intelligence, and to bring it to the markets”, he says.
Problems texture artists meet are typically related to creating textures, and applying them. Scanning real-life materials requires fairly expensive and complex equipments, and existing texture creation software are programmatic, which means artists need to master developing abilities to use them effectively. To apply textures, artists are progressively moving away from “UV unwrapping”, which implies flattening a 3D model to texture it with tools like Photoshop (Adobe), to “on-model painting”, which allows them to apply textures directly on 3D models, with tools like Substance Painter (Allegorithmic) or Mari (The Foundry).
“Content generation is a huge issue for the game development and VFX industries, and smart tools that can automate away a lot of the drudgery will be enormously important” says Paul Callender, the founder of Surface Mimic, a 3D surface scan for digital artists.
Artomatix Materialize is Artomatix’s first step in the creation of a generalist, Cloud-based AI-powered content creation platform. The company plans to complement Artomatix Materialize with Artomatix Populate, a product designed to automatically generate 3D characters and 3D worlds based on sample inputs.