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Image Metrics acquires facial animation firm Character-FX

Animation expert John Riggs appointed to director of avatar development department

Facial animation technology firm Image Metrics has acquired avatar technology company Character-FX.

Character-FX operates an integrated facial rigging tool-set for Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max, created by 3D animation pioneer John Riggs. Riggs, who has worked on feature films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and videogames Catwoman and Harry Potter, has also been appointed as director of Image Metrics' avatar development department.

Image Metrics plans to integrate the technology into its existing FACEWARE animation suite. The two technologies were previously used together in a recent NCAA basketball commercial on U.S. television.

"The Character-FX rigging process was designed to create a highly flexible character model, in a way that fits with any production environment," said Riggs.

"As Image Metrics' unique animation technology is the perfect platform for animating Character-FX avatars quickly and believably, the integration of Character-FX with Image Metrics' performance-based animation software will produce characters whose expressions and movement resonate with audiences and gamers," he added.

"Image Metrics is dedicated to providing our customers with the technology they need to efficiently and cost effectively create incredible character performances. This acquisition allows us to take another step in that direction," said Image Metrics' CEO Michael Starkenburg.

Earlier in the year Image Metrics announced that half year revenues for the company had increased by 154 per cent, following a $8 million round of financing. However, the company still reported a net loss of $2.8 million for its last quarter.