Paris-based prodco Cyber Group Studios has received funding from Epic Games to support a new virtual production pipeline at its studio in Roubaix, France. The Fortnite-maker’s US$100-million MegaGrants program supports projects that use Epic’s real-time rendering software, Unreal Engine.
Cyber Group’s new Unreal-powered real-time rendering and motion capture pipeline is expected to be operational by the end of March.
Cyber Group says using Unreal in a virtual production pipeline will help it improve creative workflows, plus save time and money by simultaneously producing film-quality animated shows for linear platforms, short-form content for social media, video game projects and immersive and interactive digital experiences.
The company will also use the funding to produce its new 52 x 11-minute original animated series Giganto Club, as well as Cartoon Forum 2020 selections Monster in My Pocket and Bee Prod/Webedia co-pro Alex Player (pictured).
As a result of the grant, real-time production specialist Andreas Carlen has joined Cyber Group as its new technical director. Carlen is leading research and development efforts in real-time technology, and serves as technical supervisor on Giganto Club. He started this month after previously consulting for Cyber Group. In addition, head of 2D and CG animation Stéphanie Baclet has been promoted to manage the real-time production studio in Roubaix.
The number of film, TV and animation projects that were either using or had used Unreal Engine had doubled by the end of 2020, according to Epic Games. As a result, film and TV projects secured 25% of the US$47 million awarded by the company’s Epic MegaGrants program last year. Cyber Group hasn’t disclosed the amount of its MegaGrant.
Other animation companies that have recently received Epic MegaGrants include Canada’s Relish, which is using Unreal on its new Shadowrail Circus series; LA’s TRICK 3D for holiday special The Jolliest Elf; and Argentina’s Hookup Animation for feature film Gilgamesh. Hookup’s grant marks the first time Epic has given funding to an animated film.