Geo Week News

September 15, 2015

Bentley Acquires e-on Software, Adds Digital Nature to Reality Models

VUE 1 copyright Aaron Kamolz

e-on’s LumenRT software allows architects and engineers to include natural environmental elements in their designs

3D models just got a bit more realistic. Bentley has acquired e-on software, “a leader in the creation, simulation and integration of natural 3D environments.”

e-on is primarily known for the creation of what they call “Digital Nature,” or realistic natural effects in 3D simulations. Their software, including Vue, Plant Factory, Ozone, and LumenRT have been used in TV shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Lost, Heroes, and Battlestar Galactica, and films like Avatar, The Hunger Games, Hugo, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, and a whole bunch of others. They make software that produces foggy vistas, rippling water, and rustling plants so realistically, you probably can’t tell they’re not real.

Bentley acquired e-on to “enliven” reality modeling, or add another level of realism and context to infrastructure design proposals. “The natural world is the backdrop for all infrastructure projects,” said CEO of Bentley Systems, Greg Bentley in a prepared statement. “As individuals, we all experience elements such as trees, skies, and terrains as being intrinsically vital to our quality of life. With the “cinematic” quality of LumenRT environments, every architect and engineer can envision and present his or her proposed design alternatives as they would be experienced in actual operation in nature.”

Using LumenRT, users can add natural elements to their designs such as “moving people, breeze-animated plants, rippling water, windy skies, and man-made objects such as vehicle simulations and traffic.”

In a prepared statement, Bentley Executive VP Ray Bentley explains that the software will dovetail neatly with the company’s newly acquired Acute3D “context capture” software, “which automatically generates 3D reality meshes from digital photographs.”

VUE environmental design, copyright Aaron Kamolz

The purchase shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been using the LumenRT MicroStation plugin, which has been available for three years. Furthermore, the movement of e-on into the architectural/infrastructural space is in keeping with a general industry trend. This is only the latest software for the creation of entertainment that we’ve seen put to work for creating more interactive and convincing 3D presentations.

As Nicolas Phelps, founder of e-on software explained, “For over 20 years, I have dedicated e-on software to creating and supporting the best digital nature solutions. While initially only focused on serving the media and entertainment industry, we recognized in recent years a growing need among architects and engineers to ‘tell their story’ in a more compelling way. We responded to this by leveraging our expertise in visual effects to also create easy-to-use products such as LumenRT that bring quick, high-quality ‘movie production’ to the architectural and engineering market.”

The terms of the acquisition were not released, though e-on will operate as a Bentley subsidiary and continue to develop tools for the digital content creation and computer graphics markets.

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