AI-powered VFX startup Wonder Dynamics raises $10M A round
Wonder Dynamics aims to make “blockbuster-level” visual effects achievable by living-room-level creators using AI and cloud services, though it has kept its product closely under wraps. The secretive company, which boasts a star-studded set of advisors, has raised a $10 million A round ahead of a planned launch later in 2022.
The company was founded by Nikola Todorovic and actor Tye Sheridan; they joined forces some years back after working on a film together and finding they shared a belief in democratizing cinema tools. Of course many tools have come down in price and difficulty, such as high-resolution cameras and the computing power to edit and color footage.
But serious VFX are another matter, and the higher fidelity of today’s cameras and displays demand improved quality in CG, something that has kept the cost and barrier to entry high.
Wonder Dynamics is a VFX platform that utilizes AI and cloud services to make these things easier, though exactly how is still something of a secret.
“The platform uses a completely new process, and it is an end-to-end solution for content creators who lack the technical knowledge necessary to produce CG and VFX content,” explained Todorovic. “For the professional artist, the output is exportable into existing workflow and software (Unreal, Blender, Maya, etc.). It is focused on post-production, but it will drastically reduce the need for hardware, equipment and additional effort in production as it exists today.”
We’ll know more when they debut the platform at SXSW in 2022, but until then skeptics might be comforted by the presence of Steven Spielberg and Joe Russo on its advisory board. Both are of course seasoned directors and picky about the looks of their films; Russo (and his brother Anthony Russo) in particular is known for preferring practical effects to CG where the latter is not absolutely required, so his support is notable.
“As we got deeper into our development we knew that this could be more than just software for Visual Effects,” said Sheridan in a press release. “Our platform can be used for film and TV, but also video games, social media content, and even the Metaverse.”
The latter provides additional justification for two of the new investors, Epic Games and Samsung Next. Horizon Ventures led the $10 million round, with seed round investors Founders Fund and MaC Venture Capital returning as well.