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Unity Acquires SpeedTree Creator Interactive Data Visualization

by Rainier on July 22, 2021 @ 10:18 a.m. PDT

Unity announced the acquisition of Interactive Data Visualization, Inc., creator of SpeedTree, a suite of vegetation modeling and environment creation products for architecture, games, visual effects, and real-time simulations.

As a long-time partner to Unity, this acquisition of IDV enables a deeper integration of SpeedTree into the Unity ecosystem, which will significantly enhance artists authoring workflows and environment creation capabilities, and solves a critical pain point for Unity creators across industries: the ability to bring rich environments to life quickly and efficiently.

“Creating natural, organic-looking environments is currently a costly and labor-intensive process. If you’re pursuing a high level of detail and realism, the process of manually creating one tree - not to mention a forest - can take upwards of four months,” said Ralph Hauwert, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Unity. “With IDV’s SpeedTree suite of products part of the Unity product ecosystem, we can now offer creators native authoring workflows for creating real-time, rich, organic environments.”

SpeedTree software is currently the leading foliage solution for the games industry. Recent hits such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Call of Duty: War Zone, The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Hitman III, and Ghost of Tsushima have all used SpeedTree to assist in their environment creation.

SpeedTree software is also a leading solution for visual effects, and has previously received a Scientific and Technical Academy Award® from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its contributions to modern cinema and an Engineering Emmy Award for its impact on the television industry. SpeedTree foliage solutions can be spotted in hundreds of major films, from indie projects to the highest-grossing films of 2020.

“We grew SpeedTree into an industry-standard tool by working directly with artists and developers across industries. This allowed SpeedTree to adapt to and anticipate the challenges faced by artists creating larger and higher fidelity worlds in real-time and VFX applications,” said Chris King, Co-Founder, Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. “We’re excited to join with Unity as we continue to work directly with creators at every level, expanding our existing solutions and developing new technologies as we move forward into the next phase of real-time interactive content.”

Today, SpeedTree and Unity customers can continue using both services as usual, including the existing SpeedTree and Unity integration. Like many of Unity’s products, including Vivox and Multiplay, SpeedTree’s tools and expansive library of ready-to-use content is engine agnostic, ensuring it continues to reach creators in any development environment. Unity will retain all ten SpeedTree employees.

Future benefits include a deeper integration within the Unity ecosystem and better workflows between the two companies. This process has begun with Unity’s upcoming 2021.2 release, which highlights better integration of SpeedTree-generated assets with Unity’s Scriptable Render Pipelines and Terrain system.

The transaction closed on July 14, 2021. Financial and legal terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

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