No more wait for resource-intensive rendering, says Spire Animation Studios, as it prepares to integrate Epic’s Unreal Engine into Spire’s feature animation pipeline, for real-time workflows.
The strategic investment from Epic Games in Spire Animation Studios signals a significant shift in the future of feature animation. The two companies will partner closely to integrate Epic’s Unreal Engine into Spire’s feature animation pipeline, enabling Spire to produce the highest quality animated visual content with stronger collaboration and higher efficiency while simultaneously building out worlds and experiences for the metaverse.
According to Epic Games, the real-time workflows will empower teams to refine and visualize the animated feature without having to wait for resource-intensive rendering. Spire will build tools to have all departments creating in real time, a paradigm shift for the industry. This will accelerate the animation process and improve the quality of collaboration across departments.
Spire Animation Studios is co-founded by Brad Lewis, producer of Academy Award-winning Ratatouille, and serial entrepreneur P.J. Gunsagar. The feature animation studio will tell original, culturally relevant stories that resonate with audiences worldwide, partnering with both best-in-class talent and emerging creatives. The duo are bringing a new creative voice to feature animation by applying a lighter, next-generation approach to production that combines A-list above the line talent and animators with cutting-edge technologies. The studio’s first two projects — Trouble and Century Goddess — are currently in production.
Story-living through VR and AR is the future
“The talented team at Spire has decades of experience and their work has captivated audiences around the world with heartfelt storytelling and inspiring characters,” said Kim Libreri, CTO of Epic Games. “They are at the cutting edge of animation and together we will push the state of the art in metaverse entertainment.”
Now, by creating movies in Unreal Engine, Spire will be able to seamlessly port story assets — worlds and characters — into the metaverse. The first project benefiting from this is Spire’s animated feature, Trouble, in collaboration with Danny McBride’s Rough House Pictures.
“Meta-distribution, where audiences engage with stories before, during and after film release, has disruptive potential,” said Spire’s Co-Founder and CEO P.J. Gunsagar. “Audiences will live and interact authentically and persistently with characters and worlds without having to wait years after a movie’s release. Story-living through VR, AR and metaverse experiences is the future. We’re passionate about bringing this vision to life with our movie Trouble.”
Better visuals and stories
“I’m excited about using Unreal Engine to support the creative process from story through delivery of final pixel,” said Spire’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Brad Lewis. “The flexibility the engine provides will bring about a more intimate and intuitive filmmaking process, leading to better visuals and stories; everyone on the creative team gets to be in the room where it happens. Unreal Engine will bring new inspired voices to feature animation!”
Epic is investing in Spire alongside existing investor Connect Ventures, an investment partnership formed by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Funding is ear-marked for team expansion, studio technology and infrastructure build out, as well as creative development. Epic will also join Spire’s Board of Directors.