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Pi Square: Making Animations Render 1000 Times Faster With Only 10% Cost

In an animation creating process, designers and animators need to wait for their work to render. And if you are one of them, you know that it usually takes a long time for your work to render. A Taiwanese VR startup, Pi Square , exhibiting at SIGGRAPH Asia 2018 , is dedicated to revolutionizing the future of animation production. In addition to that, the company is a part of a Taiwanese government XR EXPRESS TW project, which aims to promote XR technologies.

Real-Time Pipeline for Animation and VR Productions

Pi Square is based in Los Angeles, California, USA, as well as Taipei, Taiwan. The team consists of experienced professionals, skilled in software development, content creation and animation production. The company strives to always stay on top of the technology trends in animation and game industries.

PiStage for virtual production

What makes Pi Square special is the real-time technology in animation productions. They created a pipeline connecting Maya, a 3D computer graphics application, and Unreal game engine. Combining the editing strength of Maya and output speed of Unreal, one can see the result of adjustments of up to 8K resolution instantly, which makes 360-degree, real-time directing possible.

“Our goal is to become the leader in real-time computer animation technologies applied to movie production, animation production and interactive entertainment.”

With experience in Next media, Sony and DreamWorks Animation, Spock Yao and Alberto Menache co-founded Pi Square. Alberto Menache is the inventor of several motion capture technologies and a pioneer in using real-time technology in animation productions.

Today, thanks to these innovators, users can now enjoy quality VR experiences such as TheaterMax – a widescreen cinematic experience powered by Lenovo’s VR technology. It lets users attach either the Lenovo VIBE X3 or VIBE K4 Note smartphone to the front of a VR Headset to view movies, play games and experience way more than they’ve bargained for, all on a supersized virtual screen.

PiStage – a Bridge Between Maya and Unreal

Their PiStage product is a previsualization software enabling animators to produce high-quality animation and VR videos with 1000 times the rendering speed but with only 10% production cost. Now, The Third Floor, a major previs studio in Hollywood, and Sony Interactive Entertainment America, are both using Pi Square’s add-on software and services.

Pi Square's software PiStage

“We’re taking advantage of the rendering power of game engines to render animations so it’s much faster than the current pipeline,” says Pi Square’s Yao. “Our goal is to become the leader in real-time computer animation technologies applied to movie production, animation production and interactive entertainment.”

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XR EXPRESS TW – Connecting Taiwanese and Global XR Startups

With the debut of Pi Stage in Japan during SIGGRAPH Asia 2018, Pi Square is hoping to take a firm stand in the Northeast Asia market through the strength of optimizing production process. Besides the interaction with leading Japanese VR/AR companies during SIGGRAPH Asia 2018, Pi Square also teamed up as a group with other 4 talented startups for a Taiwanese government project – XR EXPRESS TW – to optimize XR connections between Taiwanese and global startups.

Its not just about the fun and games. Other than providing action-packed, fun-filled entertainment for the entire family, VR plays a big role to help humanity as developers use it to help those in need in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Some use it to cure phantom pain among amputee victims, while others rely on VR to provide therapy for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. VR has also been proven to help children with autism by teaching them social cues and real world lessons. It is being used as a practice board for surgical students before they make the first cut. There is even a VR content targeted at young adults that simulates their physical condition when they get to their 60s, and thus encourages them to save for the future.

XR EXPRESS TW is a government-supported project in Taiwan which promotes XR technologies – or, in other words, augmented, virtual and mixed reality. The project fosters the XR ecosystem in alliance with TAVAR (Taiwan Association for Virtual and Augmented Reality), to facilitate extensive connections between local startups and the global market.

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