Wonder Studio from developer Wonder Dynamics is a browser-based platform that allows editors to drag and drop any computer-generated character into any scene seamlessly using artificial intelligence. In short, it can perfectly replace any actor with a 3D model.
The demonstration video of the technology above looks too good to be true, yet if the platform is close to what the company is promising, it’s likely to dramatically change the virtual effects industry in a big way.
It’s easy to look at software that works in an internet browser and can be used to simply drag and drop over footage as something that is being developed to replace artists, but the people behind Wonder Studio say that’s not the goal.
“The goal all along was to make a tool for artists, to empower them. Someone who has big dreams doesn’t always have the resources to manifest them,” Tye Sheridan, co-founder of Wonder Dynamics, tells TechCrunch.
The company’s software is designed to make it easier to bridge what is currently a pretty large gap. While software that is designed to create 3D models is easier to procure than it ever has been, it is apparently still very difficult to actually put that computer-generated (CG) character into a real-world scene. That’s where Wonder Dynamics wants to make the change. Artists are still going to be needed to create the 3D models of CG characters, Wonder Studio will streamline the motion-capture (mocap) and rendering process and make it much more efficient.
“We built something that automates this whole process, animates it live, frame by frame, there’s no need for mocap. It automatically detects actors based on a single camera. It does camera motion, lighting, color, replaces the actor fully with CG,” other co-founder Nikola Todorovic adds.
Wonder Dynamics describes the system as able to automatically detect an actor’s performance based on single-camera footage. Then, using Ai, it is able to take that performance and seamlessly transfer it onto a CG character of an artist’s choosing, automatically animate it, light it, and render a final composition.
“Wonder Studio AI automates 80% to 90% of ‘objective’ VFX work and leaves the artist with the remaining ‘subjective’ work, which can be exported into the software they already use,” the company says.
The technology is good enough that it can be used on multiple characters at once in a single frame. And while there are 3D models available as part of the company’s demonstrations, the idea is that an artist can upload any 3D model into the system and it will work.
“You can’t replace artists with AI, we’re about enhancing and empowering them. This doesn’t disrupt what they’re doing,” Todorovic tells TechCrunch. “The beauty of AI is taking something so complicated and simplifying it.”
Wonder Studio is currently in closed beta, but is currently in use by the production team behind a film from the Russo Brothers that is coming to Netflix, which stars Millie Bobby Brown and Chris Pratt. Access to the platform can be requested via the company’s website.
Image credits: Wonder Dynamics