Adobe has made a fairly significant and strategic announcement within the computer graphics industry. It announced it has acquired Allegorithmic, the tool company who’s flagship product, Substance is the industry standard for 3D textures and material creation in game and video post-production.

Based in France, Allegorithmic has an impressive and diversve customer base across gaming, film and television, ecommerce, retail, automotive, architecture, design and advertising industries. Clients include Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, BMW, Ikea, and Louis Vuitton. Allegorithmic is the recognized leader in 3D material and texture authoring for most AAA1 gaming franchises, including Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Forza, and the tools used in the making of award-winning movies, including Blade Runner 2049Pacific Rim Uprising and Tomb Raider.

Combining Allegorithmic’s Substance 3D design tools with the video and motion graphics tools from Adobe’s Creative Cloud is the next logical progression for game developers, VFX artists working in film and television, designers and marketers who are all looking to to deliver the next generation of immersive experiences.

“Adobe is going 3D! Beautiful, metaphoric illustration by Filip Hodas of the Adobe Photoshop tools in the (3D) real life.”

CEO and founder, Allegorithmic Sebastien Deguy posted an inspiring message about his thoughts on the acquisition: “After having developed Allegorithmic, the adventure I started 17 years ago, and its ‘Substance’ product range (cult-enough in our niche market of 3D texturing), my team and I have been recognized as capable- and inspiring-enough to help grow a rather new initiative for Adobe, and to bring the world’s most awesome 2D creative tools company full steam into a new dimension.”

Deguy goes on to provide some insight into what his role will be Adobe and what we can expect see in the near future: “In order to do this, Adobe is building an expanded team to focus on the incredible opportunities in 3D and immersive design, and is offering me to become Vice President, 3D & Immersive, reporting to author / entrepreneur / investor / executive Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud at Adobe.”

Scott Belsky, chief product officer and executive vice president, Creative Cloud, Adobe added. “We are seeing an increasing appetite from customers to leverage 3D technology across media, entertainment, retail and marketing to design and deliver fully immersive experiences,” “Creative Cloud is the creativity platform for all and Substance products are a natural complement to existing Creative Cloud apps that are used in the creation of immersive content, including Photoshop, Dimension, After Effects and Project Aero.”

With the acquisition of Allegorithmic, Adobe takes a powerful step forward in adding expanded 3D and immersive workflows to Creative Cloud and provides Adobe’s core customer base of designers a new set of tools for 3D projects.

Adobe a world where real and virtual creations blend. As brands look to compete and differentiate themselves, compelling, interactive experiences enabled by 3D content, VR and AR will become more critical to their future success. 3D content is already transforming traditional workflows into fully immersive and digital ones that save time, reduce cost and open new creative horizons.

Stefano Corazza, Sr. Director of Engineering at Adobe, (and previously CEO of Mixamo a motion capture company also acquired by Adobe in 2016) wrote a recent blog post summarizing the Standard PBR Material developed jointly between Adobe and Allegorithmic: Gaming Technology is Changing How We Design & Visualize Products

Final terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

M2 Analyst Insight

I first meet Sebastien back at SIGGRAPH 2003 in San Diego. Fresh off his PhD and demoing his texturing technology at tables and in hallways outside the show floor, his enthusiasm was contagious. Since that early start I’ve watched him build it into an impressive technology company with over 140 employees. One of the few remaining independent tool companies, Allegorithic successfully continued to grow exponentially over the years.

In 2016 the company launched Substance Days, a 3 day event of masterclasses and presentations. In two years Substance Days has expanded to include multiple events throughout the year and brings in thousands of users.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Sebastien several times for GBR:

This is an important strategic play for Adobe as it signals their plans into 3D graphics. Adobe has tried on numerous occasions to penetrate the 3D market through acquisition as well as in-house projects, but they have never been able to extend their 2D product offerings into a successfully 3D integration pipeline. That may now be about to change with the Allegorithmic acquisition. They’ve played it smart, taking time to test how the two company cultures work. They have been collaborating for a number of years and for the last 2 years Allegorithmic has had Adobe as one of its board members, which may have played an instrumental role in acquisition.

Ultimately, Sebastien and his team bring a breadth of knowledge and direct understanding of specific needs for each market segment. Substance is already integrated into most of the game engines, rendering, design and DCC tools developers are using daily such as Unity and Epic’s Unreal in their production pipeline.

This is an exciting time for developers with the growing use of 3d visualization, immersive experiences and ubiquity of cross-platform development. Allegorithmic gets an expanded distribution channel and more resources to explore more 3D integration while Adobe gets a strong foothold into 3D and a fresh entrepreneurial team to execute.

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