Autodesk and Weta Digital take to the cloud together

WetaM arrives as a SaaS platform for special effects.

Cloud-based production platforms for digital content are slowly making their way in use because it’s an obviously good idea. It’s happening slowly because it’s an obviously tricky thing to do since it requires an openness and willingness to collaborate that’s just a step too far for some vendors. It will happen as the drive for openness continues among the content providers but not today and probably not tomorrow. In the meantime, Autodesk and Weta have built the logical compromise and have built their own platform in WetaM. If you can’t collaborate with your customer and your vendor, well then…

Weta Digital, the VFX arm of the Weta empire, has been building a cloud production pipeline and in the process it is aligning with Autodesk. It will integrate its tools into Autodesk to form WetaM. Weta says they’re building “one complete, cloud-based pipeline for VFX artists around the world.”

WetaM, says Weta Digital’s CEO Premm Akkaraju, “is a transformational move that will raise the bar for global creative production, redefining the industry in the process.”

It’s coming in Q4 2021 and will launch as part of Weta Digital’s newly formed SaaS division. The company says more is to come as it expands its professional and prosumer tool offerings to entertainment professionals. As you might imagine, they have a swell video available at their site, here.

What do we think?

One of the misleading talks about the cloud is the use of a broad concept like “the cloud” for every use of server-based resources in connection with desktop software. It’s convenient. It enables people to talk confidently about the inevitability of the cloud and SaaS workflows but, what Autodesk and Weta are doing is very specific and very powerful. It certainly tightens the relationship between the two companies and furthers the work they’ve already done together building a production pipeline using Maya and Weta’s tools. It also establishes Weta Digital as, it says, one of the “premiere visual effects studios” as a work for hire studio.

On the flip side, this is not necessarily a cloud platform for all. Autodesk and Weta Digital have basically kept the roadblocks and built around their collaboration and no doubt the collaborations to come. It’s an efficient way to build fast and tight.

WetaM’s tools will be available as a private beta in Q4 2021.