Montreal’s e.d.Films said it had received an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games that will allow it to make two new short films and a VR project.

The company is the first animation studio to announce that it has received funding through a MegaGrant, which is awarded by Epic Games to support content creators who use Unreal Engine or help develop open-source initiatives in 3D graphics.

A scene from "Hairy Hill"

A scene from “Hairy Hill”

Projects that are in production thanks to the MegaGrant include “Hairy Hill,” which blends 2D animation, paper puppetry, and performance-driven animation techniques using custom tools and game engines; “Three Trees,” a children’s film that combines e.d.Films’ PSD to 3D Pro plug-in with look-dev and world-building via Unreal Engine; and “The Garden,” a “musical VR project” that derives techniques from “classical cinema” and real-time, interactive animation.

E.d.Films said it has assigned a team to work on the new productions, which involve experiments in cloth and paper simulation, environment creation, and “painterly aesthetics” to learn more about what can be created by real-time animation teams.

"The Garden"

“The Garden”

“It’s been exciting to work with the Epic team on this progression, as they see the same future in real-time animation and want to empower creators just like we do,” said e.d.Films President Emily Paige in a prepared statement. “We look forward to seeing where it all goes, and hope to make an impact where we can.”

Various tools created in-house at e.d.Films, including PSD to 3D Pro, are available for sale at the company’s website.

"Three Trees"

“Three Trees”

In March, Epic Games said it had set aside $100 million for its MegaGrant initiative and encouraged filmmakers, game developers, educators, enterprise users and software developers working with 3D graphics to apply. In July, Epic said it was giving the Blender Foundation a $1.2 million MegaGrant to further development of the open-source 3D software.