Dublin firm nets millions to develop tech that creates video game art

Artomatix’s technology can make a mountain at the click of a button.

By Paul O'Donoghue Reporter, Fora

AN IRISH COMPANY working on technology to help artists who work with computers has raised millions of euro to help finance its development.

Dublin-based Artomatix, which is developing an artificial intelligence program with human-like artistic creativity, announced today that it has raised €2.1 million in a seed funding round.

State agency Enterprise Ireland and several angel investors contributed €600,0000, while the firm also received €1.5 million from the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 programme for high-potential European companies.

This follows €300,000 in pre-seed funding that Artomatix received from Dublin-based startup accelerator NDRC, and various grants and awards.

Eric Risser, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, said that the funding “will be devoted to hire engineers and researchers and to develop our technological competitive advantage further”.

“We believe this funding will go a long way towards helping us realize our vision to enable 3D artists create immersive worlds faster than ever,” he said.

Artomatix’s technology is designed to help computer artists. Once an artist supplies the computer program with a sample of their artwork, the software can then generate new art based on that input.

Video game art

Although it can be used by any artist, the company has targeted the video game and movie industries. The software makes the design of in-game art such as landscapes, terrain and characters much easier.

Its Artomatix Materialize program, the first product it launched last year, is designed to help developers map out terrain for video games.

Artomatix is also working on over a dozen other technologies that will make game designers’ daily chores less mundane.

The company’s co-founder and chief executive Neal O’Gorman previously told Fora that the software the company is developing could be used to cover a mountain with grass and rocks or create an army of zombies at the click of a button.

“Let’s say you’re making a lots of zombies. If you wanted them all to be unique you would need an army of artists, but with Artomatix the artists only need to create three, four, or five zombies that have different traits,” he said.

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“Then the software can exploit these nuances to create an army of individually unique zombies.”

Havok founder

Founded in 2014, the company now employs 17 people and says it counts several Fortune 500 companies among its initial clients.

Artomatix is chaired by Steven Collins, a partner at venture capital firm Frontline Ventures and previously the co-founder of Havok, one of the most successful video game companies to ever come out of Ireland.

Havok developed software used by gaming and film companies to create more realistic virtual environments. Computer giant Microsoft acquired the firm from rival Intel in 2015.