Adobe bought Mixamo, a 3D character creation service today and will incorporate it into the Creative Cloud.
Mixamo has been improving 3D character creation since its inception and has really pushed the art, giving designers a way to build and incorporate 3D characters into games in a fairly simple and intuitive way.
“This is an interesting move on Adobe’s part, and it fits in perfectly with their overall move from 2D to 3D,” Dan Pacheco, Professor and Chair of Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University told TechCrunch. Pacheco works with a variety of 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality tools with his students.
Purchasing Mixamo gives Adobe a 3D tool that’s accessible to more designers without requiring extensive training. Adobe has recognized the power of 3D design for some time and even incorporated 3D compositing and printing in Photoshop last year, but it has also seen that there is a dearth of 3D designers due to the lack of accessible tools. They believe that by buying Mixamo, they can bridge the gap.
“It could help broaden the base of designers working in experiential media to include more traditional designers who likely have no experience building 3D games,” Pacheco said.
Students in Pacheco’s VR Storytelling course (http://vrstorytelling.org), most of whom have no 3D modeling experience, use Mixamo to easily and inexpensively add interactive characters to scenes that are viewed in Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, he explained.
This tool has the potential take the 3D design in Creative Cloud to another level by giving designers an online 3D tool set. In fact, Adobe plans to incorporate Mixamo functionality into Photoshop, including tens of thousands of stock models designed to make it simpler for designers to get started with 3D design.
Existing Mixamo subscribers have until the end of the year to continue using the service, but according to a pricing FAQ, it will stop taking new purchases and subscriptions as it becomes part of Adobe over the coming months. At the end of the year, it appears Adobe will shutter the existing site and Mixamo will become part of the Creative Cloud.
It’s worth noting that Adobe hopes to eventually extend this technology from character building to other types of 3D design and it will be interesting to see where the creative giant goes with this.
“What I’m most surprised at is why Unity or Unreal Engine, the target platforms for virtual reality, didn’t buy Mixamo first, as it fits better with their current strategies as game environment engines. It makes me wonder if Adobe’s planning to build its own gaming engine or acquire one,” he said.
Mixamo launched in 2008 and raised $11.8 million over four rounds, according to Crunchbase.
Adobe’s Creative Cloud is a set of services that includes tools like Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator. These tools used to be boxed and sold as Creative Suite. Several years ago Adobe began delivering these tools via subscription service in the cloud, and went all in with their subscription model beginning in Spring, 2013.