Ubisoft buys Hybride

Posted on July 11th, 2008 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

So earlier this week video games maker Ubisoft announced its acquisition of VFX studio Hybride. Very big news for the VFX industry, and a huge event for the VFX and games community in Montreal.

The convergence of video games and digital effects industries is not new. In 2005, Lucasfilm’s new Letterman Digital Arts Center was a way to bring closer together its video game division (LucasArts) and VFX studio (ILM) to share technical knowledge and creative power for added value. A new Indiana Jones title is one of the first projects of this new collaboration, for example by pushing the limits of the Euphoria engine from Natural Motion. Just last year VFX studio Digital Domain announced the creation of a video games division, right after working on the impressive Halo 3 trailer. One memorable result is the “Mad World” teaser for Gears of War. You can read more about it here.

The difference here is having a multinational video games company acquiring an established VFX house. In fact, Ubisoft has been working on building their own CG studio in Montreal (Ubisoft Digital Arts) to refine the cinematics of their production titles, as well as start short and long movie spin-offs using these same titles. The acquisition of Hybride is a huge leap foward.

But I’m no prophet. What will precisely happen with this acquisition is everyone’s guess. Having been an employee of Hybride for over 10 years, of course my thoughts go to everyone at my last employer; I’m more than proud for all the owners at Hybride that I’ve worked for during over a decade. I’m also very happy for my ex-colleagues that have exciting new opportunities with the added support of a new respected corporation.

Finally, as a VFX studio owner myself, this happening is extremely positive. It has brought Montreal in the limelight and shows the vigour of both industries. For Modus, Ubisoft’s ownership of Hybride gives us a new opportunity to differentiate ourselves. Not forgetting the immediate added value this transaction has brought for all VFX studio.

Exciting times are up ahead. Can’t wait to see!

“300” Wins Best Visual Effects at 2007 Satellite Awards

Posted on December 17th, 2007 in CG Community, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

The Satellite Awards are given by the IPA, the International Press Academy; it’s the world’s largest association of entertainment journalists with over 200 members. The event takes place every year since 1997 and is somewhat similar to the Golden Globes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association; in fact it’s a spin-off of this organization.

This year 300 was the winner in the Visual Effects category, winning over heavyweights such as Transformers, The Golden Compass (who deserved better box-office numbers), The Bourne Ultimatum, Enchanted and Beowulf.

The best news is that Daniel Leduc, VFX supervisor at Hybride was part of the short list of nominees, so it’s a great thumbs-up for Hybride. Congrats!

So long, Hybride

Posted on June 8th, 2007 in Uncategorized by Marc Bourbonnais

Today was my farewell lunch, a tradition at Hybride for employees on the leave. To mark the end of my 10 years at the company, 50 of my ex-colleagues joined me for a final cold one. I’ll miss them!

Good times.