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Epic Games Acquisition of Quixel—Announced at Unreal Academy London Architosh Discusses Details

Unreal Engine users gain invaluable assets thanks to Epic’s recent acquisition of Swedish software developer, Quixel.

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Epic Games announced at their Unreal Academy event in London that they were acquiring Quixel. If you are unfamiliar with Quixel, it is the world’s largest photogrammertry asset library (Megascans).

About Quixel

The Swedish software developer has particular expertise in photogrammetry using using Megascans of 2D and 3D physically-based assets. There asset library of scans—over 10,000 in total—will now be free with to use with the Unreal Engine. Ten high resolution packs have been shared on the Unreal Marketplace. The popular Iceland collection used in “Rebirth” assets are also available for free.

Quixel is now part of Epic Games and Unreal Engine (UE) users gain free access to Megascans, Quixel Mixer and Quixel Bridige.

Quixel Mixer and Quixel Bridge—two of the company’s software solutions that run on both Windows and macOS (and Linux for Bridge)—are free to use for all regardless of Engine choice or license type. Quixel users can look forward to more downloads per month, and more generous license terms.  

Epic recently partnered with Quixel and other companies on a groundbreaking virtual production demo for creating in-camera visual effects. Today, Epic is sharing, behind the scenes video exploring opportunities for artists working in film and television production with new features in Unreal Engine and high-fidelity visual assets from Quixel.  The AEC industry benefits from this collaboration providing new features for artists working on high-end visualization. 

“Building photorealistic 3D content is an expensive endeavor in game development and film production. By coming together with Quixel to make Megascans free for all use in Unreal Engine, this level of artistry is now available to everyone from triple-A studios to indies,” said Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. 

“Our mission at Quixel has always been to make the world more accessible for everyone through ultra-high resolution scanning. As part of Epic Games, we’re now able to accelerate this vision as we grow the Megascans library, speed up the development of Bridge and Mixer, and improve integrations with all major 3D software and renderers,” said Quixel Co-founder Teddy Bergsman.

Upgrades to Unreal Engine Version 4.24

Epic also announced a better streamlined workflows that advance Unreal Engine for all creators Starting with Unreal 4.24 release features such as Datasmith suite of plugins, static mesh editing and the Variant Manager now ship as a unified binary tool. 

Quixel’s software solutions run on both Windows and macOS.

Unreal 4.24 now ships with many new upgrades and features:

  • New nondestructive, layer-based Landscape workflows enable more interesting and engaging outdoor environments where the terrain automatically adapts to other elements in the world.
  • The Sky Atmosphere component generates a physically-accurate sky that can be updated dynamically depending on the time of day, and it can be viewed from the ground or from the air to create realistic-looking planetscapes.
  • The new experimental strand-based hair and fur system brings characters to life with realistic, flowing hair.
  • Screen-space global illumination allows for natural light-filled spaces using fewer resources.
  • The Live Universal Scene Description (USD) Stage Actor creates a direct link to the USD file on disk for faster iteration and better collaboration.
  • Project creation workflow now includes a wizard-style workflow centered around the industry or type of project you are creating so you only see relevant settings and tools.

Epic also announced that the Twinmotion free download has been extended to first quarter 2020 until the new release of Twinmotion. Epic says the new release will offer greater photorealism, improved assets, and tools to facilitate collaborative workflows among other features. Twinmotion is a highly intuitive solution for the AEC industry. 

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

Quixel’s software tools, particularly Mixer, are solid tools that would be of use to the company’s advanced segment of its entry level app users—Twinmotion users. The ability to work swiftly in Twinmotion is one of the apps strongest appeas but the ability to customize and provide your projects with textures that are highly specific to your projects would be highly valued by many architectural visualization professsionals. While there is not specific word on where Quixel’s acquired assets will touch down on Twinmotion users versus Unreal Engine users, ultimately we do know today that Epic plans a bridge of sorts to bring users up-market from Twinmotion to Unreal Engine over time. — Anthony Frausto-Robledo

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