Software maker acquires Wondertouch

In another step toward software standardization in the computer graphics world, software maker GenArts has acquired Wondertouch and its particle-effects software Particleillusion.

GenArts will transform Particleillusion, which has been stand-alone software, into software plug-ins, which is expected to make them easier to use and bring in many new users.

Particle effects are used for realistic fire, water, fog and other natural phenomena, and are also important for TV news and sports graphics.

With Wondertouch, GenArts acquires 10,000 customers, many of them not previous GenArts users.

GenArts has a strategic partnership with Lucasfilm and is pursuing other such agreements.

GenArts CEO Katherine Hays told Daily Variety that vfx companies want more off-the-shelf solutions.

“What we’re hearing and finding in the industry is, where in the past they saw a real benefit to building 80% (of their software) and buying 20%, they want to shift that. They want it to be 20% built in-house and 80% standardized tools that are very high-end from a trusted vendor.”

Alan Lorence, CEO and creator of Particleillusion, has joined GenArts as a full-time developer with the title senior engineer. He will remain in St. Louis, where Wondertouch has been based.

GenArts products are aimed at vidgame production as well as visual effects. Toward that end, the company also recently hired a new chief technology officer, David Sturman, a longtime vet of vidgame companies.

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