DNEG acquires exclusive licence to Ziva Technologies from Unity

Member News  |  03 April 2024

Ziva is a leader in sophisticated simulation and deformation, machine learning and real-time character creation.

DNEG, a world-leading visual entertainment services company best known for its visual effects work with directors such as Denis Villeneuve and Christopher Nolan, announced that it has acquired the exclusive license to Ziva, a best-in-class toolset for the creation of digital characters and creatures, from Unity (NYSE: U). Under the terms of the transaction, DNEG will also onboard a significant proportion of the Ziva team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In acquiring the exclusive license to Ziva’s toolset and expertise, DNEG further bolsters its position as a world-leader in the creation of captivating digital characters and creatures for its Hollywood studio work and across other media. Boasting sophisticated simulation features and real-time character creation, assisted by machine learning, Ziva enables artists to craft ever-more accurate and scalable digital characters with greater efficiency and control.

The transaction also creates a competitive advantage for DNEG IXP, DNEG’s immersive experiences division. Launched in February 2024 under the leadership of former R/GA and Wieden+Kennedy executive Josh Mandel, DNEG IXP brings DNEG’s Academy Award-winning creativity and technology to brands, businesses, and games publishers. Ziva’s toolset, and its future development at DNEG, will further support the creation of real-time interactive digital humans and creatures for DNEG IXP’s projects in the worlds of gaming, virtual concerts, and theme park ride experiences, and for next-generation headsets such as the Apple Vision Pro.

This transaction furthers DNEG’s strategy of continual investment in technology to reinforce our leadership position. The integration of the Ziva toolset into our technology stack helps our artists to deliver incredible cinematic performances and experiences for discerning movie-lovers worldwide, and also supports our strategic move into immersive experiences with the launch of DNEG IXP, enabling the creation of feature film-quality digital characters and creatures in gaming and immersive environments. I am thrilled about the possibilities that this transaction opens up, both for ourselves and for our partners.

Namit Malhotra, Global CEO at DNEG

Bringing the Ziva toolset in-house – along with a significant proportion of the team behind it – is a perfect fit for DNEG and gives us a strong competitive advantage in the development of sophisticated and wholly convincing digital characters and creatures. This is an important area of growth for DNEG and will further enhance our digital character and creature work, not just for film and episodic work, but for real-time and immersive applications too. Ziva will be fully integrated into our new, state-of-the-art pipeline – Helix – expanding our portfolio of artist tools and helping to position our technology as the preeminent platform in the industry for content creation at the very highest levels of quality. I look forward to working with the team to support the further development of the product, and to helping take the Ziva toolset in exciting new directions.

Paul Salvini, Global CTO at DNEG

Since its launch in 2015, Ziva has become the industry-standard toolset for the creation of high-quality digital characters and creatures for visual effects, animation, and gaming companies. The Ziva suite of tools powers the creation of hero digital characters and creatures for film, TV, and gaming cinematics; brings cinema-quality characters into real- time gaming environments; and introduces interactive digital humans and characters to elevate immersive experiences across live entertainment, retail, healthcare, and more.

DNEG has previously utilized the Ziva toolset to help deliver compelling performances by digital characters for many high-profile projects, including recent shows such as Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Fast X, Venom, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Meg 2: The Trench, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and upcoming releases such as Animal Friends and the animated feature The Garfield Movie.

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