Wonder Dynamics raises $ 2.5 million to provide independent filmmakers with AI-powered visual effects – TechCrunch

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Practically every movie production these days needs some type of visual effect business, but freelance creators often lack the money or expertise to acquire this quality product. Dynamics of wondersFounded by VFX engineer Nikola Todorovich and actor Tai Sheridan, it aims to use artificial intelligence to make some of these processes accessible to tight-budget filmmakers, and they’ve just raised $ 2.5 million to make it happen.

The company’s origins go back to 2017, after Sheridan and Todorovic met on the set of the Rodrigo Garcia movie. The last days in the desert. They seemed to feel that the opportunity was there to democratize the tools they had enjoyed in the big studio movies.

Wonder Dynamics is very discreet about what exactly its tools do. Deadline Mike Fleming Jr. He watched a limited demo and said he “can see what will be valuable in creating the world with modest budgets. The process can be done quickly and at a fraction of the traditional cost structure”, although that brings us a little closer to where we started.

Sheridan and Todorovic (who jointly answered questions I sent) described the system, called Wallace Pro, as taking some heavy-duty work for certain classes of visual effects rather than a finishing touch or specific effect.

“We are building an AI platform that will significantly speed up production and post-production for content that includes CG characters and the digital worlds. The goal of the platform is to reduce costs associated with these products by automating the“ objective ”part of the process, leaving artists with creative work. By doing so, we hope to create more opportunities and empower filmmakers with visions that go beyond their budget. Without saying much, it can be applied to the three stages of filmmaking (pre-production, production, and post-production), depending on the specific need of the artist. “

From this we can think of it as an improvement in the workflow, which reduces the time it takes to achieve some of the widely used impacts, and hence the money that must be allocated to it. To illustrate this, this differs from another, more specific product being developed by Wonder Dynamics to create interactive, virtual characters as part of the movie production process – an early implementation of the company’s tools, without a doubt.

The technology has undergone some testing on a small scale, but the plan is to put it into operation in an entry-production feature later this year. They said, “Before we release technology to the public, we want to be very selective with the early filmmakers using the technology to make sure that the films are produced to a high standard.” First impressions matter.

The $ 2.5 million founding round was led by Founders Fund, Cyan Banister, Realize Tech Fund, Capital Factory, MaC Venture Capital and Robert Schwab. “Because we are at a crossroads between technology and movies, we really wanted to surround ourselves with investment partners who understand how dependent the two industries are in the future,” said Sheridan and Todorovic. “We were very fortunate to have MaC Venture Capital and Realize Tech Fund along with FF. Both funds have a unique mix of Silicon Valley and Hollywood veterans.

Wonder Dynamics will use the money, as you might expect, to expand its engineering and visual effects teams to continue developing and expanding the product … whatever it is.

With their advisory board, it would be difficult to make a mistake without someone calling them. They said, “We are very fortunate to have some of the most intelligent minds out of both artificial intelligence and the cinema space”, and that’s no exaggeration. The group currently includes Steven Spielberg, Joe Russo (“they’re clearly geniuses when it comes to film production and innovation”), University of California at Berkeley, Anju Kanazawa from Google, Antonio Toralpa from MIT (longtime AI researchers in robotics and autonomy), and many more people. Others in the movie business. And finance “gives us a wealth of knowledge when we try to figure out how to move the company forward.”

AI is deeply integrated into many tech companies and enterprise groups, making it a solid money maker in the industry, but it remains a fringe concept in the creative-driven world of film and television. Yet hybrid production techniques such as StageCraft for ILMUsed for photography Mandalorian, How the techniques traditionally used for 3D modeling and game creation can be safely applied to movie production – sometimes even live on camera. Artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming that part of the world, as pioneers like Nvidia and Adobe have shown, and it seems inevitable that it will be photographed – although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact shape.

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