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Bentley Systems acquires 3D nature software maker e-on Software

In a bit of a surprise but in a logical move, Bentley Systems has acquired 3D software maker e-on software of France, the makers of the popular VUE line of 3D natural scenery generating tools, plus PlantFactory and its new-ish and quite strong LumenRT for design professionals like architects and engineers.


Bentley Systems, the makers of popular Microstation CAD/BIM software platform highly utilized by major architecture and engineering firms, and particularly standard in the civil markets, has announced it has acquired French-based e-on software, the maker of the popular 3D VUE software lines.

With VUE Comes LumenRT

e-on software is widely known for its popular VUE series and PlantFactory products, used extensively for the creation and simulation of natural 3D environments in digital content creation (DCC) industries, including in education markets where they play a part in science education. The products have also been used in Hollywood studio pipelines for visual effects.

Headed by Nicholas Phelps, e-on software, will operate as a Bentley subsidiary company in this new acquisition and will continue to develop its innovative solutions, including its breakthrough product LumenRT—a product that brings its “live” natural environments into workflows closer to design professionals in AEC markets.

01 - e-on software's full VUE 2015 product line is now completely shipping. It is a product designed for digital nature creation and editing in diverse workflows. (image: e-on software. All rights reserved).

01 – An image from e-on software’s VUE technology. All e-on software has been available for both Mac and Windows for years.  (image: e-on software. All rights reserved).

“For over 20 years, I have dedicated e-on software to creating and supporting the best digital nature solutions,” Phelps said. “While initially only focused on serving the media and entertainment (M&E) industry, we recognized in recent years a growing need among architects and engineers to ‘tell their story’ in a more compelling way. We responded to this by leveraging our expertise in visual effects to also create easy-to-use products such as LumenRT that bring quick, high-quality ‘movie production’ to the architectural and engineering market.

“I am thrilled to join Bentley Systems to explore and extend these avenues together. Bentley is a fantastic company that shares our passion for technological excellence. It will be a great home for e-on software to thrive in. We gain access to a highly qualified user base, substantial resources, and new distribution channels that will allow us to walk boldly into the future and produce ever more exciting and versatile natural environment simulation and integration products, putting Hollywood movie quality into the hands of engineers and artists alike, around the world!”

Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley said, “With our acquisition of e-on software, reality modeling for architects and engineers to capture existing conditions and provide context for proposed infrastructure designs can now be enlivened with digital nature. The natural world is the backdrop for all infrastructure projects and, as individuals, we all experience elements such as trees, skies, and terrains as being intrinsically vital to our quality of life. With the ‘cinematic’ quality of LumenRT environments, every architect and engineer can envision and present his or her proposed design alternatives as they would be experienced in actual operation in nature.”


In 2014, e-on’s LumenRT software achieved a breakthrough in enabling “live” natural environments to be easily incorporated within the work of infrastructure engineers for improved “real-time” design context and for stakeholder communications with life-like qualities. Bentley users are already benefiting from the integration of LumenRT’s capabilities with Bentley’s MicroStation-based common modeling environment for advancing infrastructure.

01 - LumenRT is now integrated into ArchiCAD offering its BIM users rich immersive 3D environments.

02 – From a previous news story, LumenRT was integrated into ArchiCAD offering its BIM users rich immersive 3D environments. It is unclear if LumenRT will maintain strong connections to rival BIM solutions to Bentley’s BIM solutions.

David Burdick, formerly e-on vice president of marketing and now Bentley Systems industry executive, visualization, said, “With LumenRT, users can enliven their designs with a full complement of environmental elements such as moving people, breeze-animated plants, rippling water, windy skies, and man-made objects such as vehicle simulations and traffic. The ability to couple Bentley’s infrastructure solutions with LumenRT provides an unsurpassed ability to craft more environmentally coherent designs while streamlining the ability to communicate winning design stories to all stakeholders.”

Bentley Systems executive vice president Ray Bentley said, “I have spent my working career advancing the quality of 3D representations of infrastructure. But there’s always been something missing – the ability to immerse designs within their dynamic context and natural environments, conveying their operational and aesthetic qualities. With LumenRT and our recent acquisition of Acute3D ‘context capture’ software – which automatically generates 3D reality meshes from digital photographs – we can now enable all of our users to readily take advantage of ‘enlivened’ reality modeling!”

VUE and PlantFactory

VUE products enable VFX studios, animators, architects, matte painters, and CG professionals to create exceptionally rich and realistic digital nature environments.VUE provides all the tools required to efficiently model and animate synthesized natural 3D environments. It is a flexible and versatile package designed to integrate seamlessly with all production workflows. VUE xStream can be used directly inside of all leading 3D software packages, including 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, LightWave, and CINEMA 4D.

Scott Brisbane, senior matte painter, Weta Digital, said, “VUE is one of the most artist-friendly tools I’ve ever used. It has become an essential package in the environment creation workflow I have developed over 10 years of production on films like Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Croods.”

Jean-Denis Coindre, matte painter at Universal Pictures – Illumination Mac Guff, said while using VUE on the film Minions, “No other software can create natural environments in full 3D as quickly and fluidly as VUE does! It’s a very versatile and impressive piece of software. It would be totally insane to even try doing what VUEdoes in any other tool!”

PlantFactory products are dedicated to the accurate modeling of dynamic, wind-animated plants. They produce versatile results that are used both in the DCC and architectural and engineering markets.

Frederic Bec, landscape architect, said, “As a landscape architect, I find PlantFactory to be a fantastic tool! I can show my clients what their projects will look like in any season throughout the year, or what they’ll be like in 10 years.”

About Bentley Systems

Bentley Systems is a global leader in AEC and geospatial industries, leveraging its extensive Microstation CAD/BIM software platform and a broad range of AECO discipline software technologies, including its ProjectWise collaboration services technologies and solutions. With a staff of over 3,000 and operating in more than 50 countries, Bentley makes $600 million USD in annual revenues and vies with US-based Autodesk, the Nemetschek Group of Germany, and US-based Trimble for leadership in the global AECO (architecture, engineering, construction and operations) software industries.

Architosh Analysis

Like Autodesk and the Nemetschek Group, Bentley’s acquisition of e-on software means that the company now possesses software tools that firmly place it into the M&E industry (media and entertainment) where visualization in Hollywood and broadcast industries have need for the digital natural scenery capabilities of e-on software’s solutions. VUE is already used within Autodesk M&E tools like Max and Maya and Nemetschek Group’s Maxon Cinema 4D. This is an interesting twist in this storyline, though I don’t see Bentley adding an M&E tab on their website just yet.

e-on software has existed quite below the radar of many of the biggest M&E software companies for quite sometime. Yet, with the strong emergence of LumenRT, this company has become a more interesting M&A target, especially when looking at its cross-over value to AECO, which is where Bentley clearly saw the value play.

e-on software could have added value to any of the major AECO software giants, especially Autodesk. The acquisition further strengths the trend and the notion that technologies developing in gaming, M&E and AECO have large potential overlap values. And as our recent In-Depth feature on Perfect Parallel suggests, the gaming industry, in particular, may possess some of the more interesting cross-over values to AECO as well.

MORE: In-Depth: How Developer ‘Perfect Parallel’ is Changing the Game of Golf

Reader Comments

  1. In a bit of a surprise but in a logical move, Bentley Systems has acquired 3D software maker e-on software of France…

  2. In a bit of a surprise but in a logical move, Bentley Systems has acquired 3D software maker e-on software of France…

  3. […] AIA quest’anno. Tuttavia, la società è stata anche in mostra il suo nuovo ContextCapture e Bentley LumenRT (precedentemente uno strumento che ha scritto qui […]

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