Star Wars

Apple Acquires Visual Effects Startup That Worked Its Magic on Star Wars

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True, the rumors are. The Force is getting stronger in Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., colossus has indeed acquired a Swiss startup that played a key role in the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Apple confirmed the acquisition of Faceshift last night in a statement provided to TechCrunch. MacRumors first shed light on the rumored purchase earlier this year. The Zurich-based visual effects firm specializes in real time, markerless motion capture that aims to accurately express “realistic and emotional facial expressions,” in both video games and film.

Related: Star Wars + Drones = Dreams Come True

TechCrunch reports that several Faceshift employees are already logging hours for Apple from across the pond. For a look at the company’s handiwork making alien life forms emote remarkably like humans in the forthcoming Star Wars installment, check out the GIF below.

Faceshift isn’t the only European niche technology startup Apple has snapped up lately. The tech giant also recently acquired augmented reality firm Mataio, facial recognition firm Polar Rose and 3-D scanning house PrimeSense.

If you’re hoping to find out exactly why Apple scooped up Faceshift, and what it plans to do with its game-changing motion capture software, don’t hold your breath. Per norm, Apple remains tight-lipped, reciting its standard post-acquisition line: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Related: What Small Business Can Learn From Force of the Star Wars Marketing Blitz

But that doesn’t mean Star Wars fans can’t wonder.

While we're on the subject, remember that time Apple chief design officer Jony Ive reimagined the Star Wars lightsaber over drinks with director J.J. Abrams? His vision for the legendary plasma weapon would be “less precise, and just a little bit more spitty,” whatever that second adjective means. Apparently Abrams was all ears, as evidenced (perhaps) in this trailer for the hotly-anticipated seventh episode in saga, which, in case you forgot, is just 22 days and 14 hours from blowing our minds. 

Edition: December 2016

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