Epic buys Quixel to make photogrammetry part of Unreal Engine

Epic Game has acquired Quixel, a technologica startup that built a massive “photogrammetry” asset library called Megascans.

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Image credit: Quixel

Photogrammetry allows creators to use high-resolution scans of real world objects in video games, as well as in animated films, to make them photorealistic.

Developers working in Unreal Engine will now be able to use over 10,000 Megascans assets at no extra charge (available today on the Unreal Engine Marketplace). Additionally, Quixel’s tools called Bridge and Mixer will be available to all for free, no matter what engine they are using, along with over 10 high-resolution packs from Quixel.

Quixel’s Megascans assets were used in Metro Exodus, Destiny 2, Battlefield V and films The Jungle Book, Black Panther, The Lion King, and Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Quixel’s team, which consists of over 100 employees, will now all work for Epic. The studio will remain based in Sweden and six other countries. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

“Our mission at Quixel has always been to make the world more accessible for everyone through ultra-high resolution scanning,” said Quixel cofounder Teddy Bergsman, in a statement. “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.”

Teddy Bergsman, Quixel cofounder, via VentureBeat.

The relationship between the companies goes back some time. At this year’s GDC, Quixel showed some footage featuring a seemingly real world scenery. However, the background view was, in fact, computer-generated in Unreal Engine.

Behind the scenes of the short film shown at GDC 2019

Epic also announced the list of features for Unreal Engine 4.24, which will include: the Datasmith suite of plugins, static mesh editing, and the Variant Manager. The new version of the engine will now offer the same set of features across all industries: games, architecture, automotive and transportation, film and television, broadcast, live events, training and simulation.

Those using Unreal Engine 4.23 or earlier can continue to do so, but these versions will no longer be updated or provided technical support.

More Unreal Engine highlights 4.24 are available here. And here you can learn how the deal will affect Megascans subsribers.

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