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Adobe acquires Mixamo

Moving toward character animation By Ko Maruyama

Mixamo recently launched the new version of its portal and service that allows 3D artists the ability to select from a huge library of actions and quickly rig their characters.  I should know, I've used Mixamo for a project with great success - in a matter of minutes, my character was rigged and dancing.  Today's news by Adobe (see below) was a bit of a surprise.  Today, Adobe announced that they are acquiring Mixamo.

It is surely an interesting move.  As a 3D artists, I'm intrigued by the decision, but also curious to know what kind of forecast it may indicate for Adobe's roadmap.  I'm sure that Adobe's subscribers to their Creative Cloud service will be curious to see how it fits into their benefits.

While some people are making speculations about what kind of 3D software Adobe may be contemplating, Adobe Photoshop has supported 3D objects for years now.  I have written several articles about 3D inside Photoshop for CreativeMac.

Adobe Photoshop also supports time based animation, and has a timeline that allows designers to set keyframes and import QuickTime movies (among other things).

I have used both Mixamo and Adobe products professionally as separate tools in a workflow.  It will be interesting to see if and how Adobe's new acquisition will change the way animators will work within CreativeCloud.

Here's what Mixamo 2.0 promises:

For now, this is what Adobe posted on their news blog:

3D tools have come a long way in the past few years, but are still generally inaccessible to most designers due to the great expense and extensive training required to learn the complicated techniques. However, using 3D in 2D workflows adds flexibility to the design work you're already doing and delivers better output options for interactive websites, game content, video and 3D printing. Our research tells us that one of the most in-demand skills for designers is 3D, but using it is just too hard with the current tools and technology. We've been working to close this gap between power and usability, which started last year when we announced some exciting new features in Adobe Photoshop CC that make 3D compositing and printing much easier.

Today, we're taking another step toward unlocking the power of 3D for designers by announcing the acquisition of Mixamo, a San Francisco based company that enables designers to create and customize a broad range of high quality 3D characters and animations, which provide significant benefits for the design community:

  • Increase productivity by reusing assets that can now be easily customized in 3D

  • Gain flexibility in making changes to lighting, environment, perspective and materials

  • Generate more realistic scenes in your projects with life-like lighting, reflections and shadows

  • Produce greater output options in both still and motion

  • Create realistic packaging, product concepts and prototypes before manufacturing

Designers are currently using Photoshop CC to produce a wide variety of 3D outputs, but we will increase what you can do with Photoshop CC and 3D content while making it easier for more people to take advantage of those benefits. We plan to integrate Mixamo's technology into Photoshop CC to empower designers to create, customize, manipulate, rig and animate 3D content, as well as to take advantage of tens of thousands of high quality, turnkey 3D models, starting with stock characters that can be easily pulled into projects.

Designers are increasingly being asked to create photo-realistic scenes that don't exist in the real world. And while this is already being done in Photoshop CC today, we can push the envelope further to enable a level of precision like never before, and to make it easier for everyone to use. This is because there is a confluence of changes in 3D technologies that will make this much easier in the near future. First, the emergence of 3D scanning technology will drive demand for readily available, high quality 3D content. Second, hardware improvements make it much easier to work with 3D content on standard devices, even tablets. Finally, we see a marriage of high quality content and powerful tools geared toward graphic designers that make working with 3D more accessible than ever before. Mixamo helps us address these market demands and the current challenges of working with 3D.

Characters are one of the biggest growth categories of 3D content and we see interesting use cases for graphic design. For example, we made this video by using Photoshop CC to composite a rigged and animated character from Mixamo onto an image.


But this is just the beginning. From content through capabilities, integrating Mixamo into Creative Cloud provides an incredible platform for more 3D innovation in the future. With this acquisition, we are excited to offer greater value to customers while introducing a new way of working to our design community that is looking to push the limits with 3D tools.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:animation artist, mac, fine art, sketching, animation, photograpy, sketch, drawing, gesture, daily practice, creative, gopro, HERO

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