In a surprise move, Maxon and Red Giant said today that they have agreed to merge under the umbrella of Maxon’s Munich-based owner, Nemetschek Group.

The combination will align Maxon’s Cinema 4D (C4D) 3D animation package more closely with Red Giant’s extensive line of visual-effects software, which is most widely used among Adobe After Effects artists. (Red Giant claims more than 250,000 users of its various offerings.) The companies aren’t saying yet what the future holds, but C4D devotees especially will surely be watching to see how that product’s capabilities evolve, and what new software may be developed by the merged entities.

Maxon CEO David McGavran wasn’t downplaying the news, touting it as a “major milestone” for the design industry — which may at least suggest his thinking. “Our combined technology and knowhow have the potential to progressively reshape the content creation landscape for years to come,” he said in a prepared statement.

“The combination of our companies is an exceptional fit of people, culture and technology,” said Red Giant CEO Chad Bechert in the same statement, which was released jointly by the companies. “We look forward to working together under a shared vision of how to design powerful and approachable software to serve creative artists around the world.”

Red Giant said wealth-management firm Stifel was its financial advisor during the transaction. No further details were disclosed.

The news comes during a period of rapid growth for Nemetschek Group. Maxon had acquired Redshift Rendering Technologies in April, helping drive Nemetschek’s media-and-entertainment revenue up by 24.3% for the year to date. In October, the company said Maxon’s adoption of a subscription model with the September 3 release of Cinema 4D R21 had “contributed to the highest September results” in its history.

Red Giant: