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Avid has just announced that it has purchased the intellectual property assets of the New Zealand-based Character Animation Technologies Ltd., the company that brings CAT (Character Animation Toolkit, a plug-in for Autodesk 3ds max) to the market. Softimage, Avid's wholly owned subsidiary focused on character creation and effects, will manage those assets.
According to Marc Stevens, VP/GM of Softimage, CAT is a perfect fit into the company's product line. "If you look at [CAT's] focus-in terms of what they've done in making character animation a lot easier to do-and consider that along with the fact that they're on other platforms, then they are certainly a nice fit for us. The synergy on the animation side was right there. You're going to end up seeing some great stuff in the future, as we move forward, with the combined synergy of the two companies."
Softimage has been focused on developing its XSI and Face Robot products; Stevens says the company will now also continue to develop, support and sell CAT products, something that will surely ease the minds of customers and resellers alike. Softimage will also continue to provide the same sales, support and services that have been available from CAT. Likewise, CAT customers will continue to have the same sales and support contacts they've had in the past.
"The primary driving factor [for the acquisition] was based on the thinking behind the product and vision of where they were going with it," says Stevens. "In terms of that matching up with where we want to go was probably the main point. The fact that they are on another platform and giving us easier access to bring our tools to another customer base is a supporting point. We're really in this to bring the best tools to the industry."
The acquisition of a character animation company should surely solidify Avid's position and commitment in the CG and 3D market space. As Stevens explains, "Avid is a company that's focused on media and entertainment-maybe it's broadcast or post production or CG-but we are definitely a key core part of their business. I think they have been and are continuing to be supportive of what we do and I think they see the CG and 3D technology market as a key piece and a customer base they want to serve moving forward."
CAT's CTO Philip Taylor has joined the Softimage team in Montreal.