Fx companies the Foundry and Luxology to merge

Software makers develop products including Nuke and modo

In an unusual example of corporate matchmaking, two leading software makers for visual effects have agreed to merge following a suggestion from Industrial Light & Magic.

The Foundry, based in London, and Luxology, from Mountain View, Calif., are joining forces immediately. Both companies will retain their names and current staff.

The marriage of the two companies was prompted by a suggestion from visual effects supervisor John Knoll of Industrial Light & Magic. Knoll was using products from both companies and suggested they’d work better combined.

The Foundry, based in London, develops and distributes several industry-standard software apps, including compositing program Nuke.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Luxology’s products, including modo were aimed at the design industry but have found an enthusiastic following among vfx artists. Modo is designed to make computer graphics production more artist-friendly.

“We want to make people more productive. In many 3D pipelines, artists are required to be technicians,” said Luxology president Brad Peebler.

“Solving that problem of productivity was the last holy grail of CGI. The questions of how do you do hair, how do you do water, how do you do explosions, all these technical challenges had been solved,” said Peebler. “We wanted to turn the question to how quickly can you do this?”

Luxology and modo are expected to benefit from the Foundry’s worldwide sales force. The Foundry, which has been growing about 30% per year, will hire more staff in the wake of the merger.