Madrid-based REM Infografica SA is probably best known for the ingenious graphics that appear between programs on Spanish television’s TVE-2 channel, but behind these images lies a successful software development studio that has even sold its products for three-dimensional design to some of Hollywood’s film-making giants. The firm’s roots go back to 1990, when two friends in their late twenties, Jose Maria de Espona and Javier Reyes, founded a small company by the name of Triplefactor SA, which specialized in computer animation for advertising and television. Triplefactor’s greatest triumph was the development of MetaReyes a software program for the generation of images and simulation in three dimensions that could be used on low-end personal computers. Meta-Reyes was presented at the New Orleans Siggraph Fair in 1993 and walked off with two of the top 10 prizes, as well as some attractive contracts. The great thing about our program is that you can create a dinosaur in two days on a simple personal computer, while for the film Jurassic Park it took a year and an outlay of over $30m, Javier Reyes told El Pais. MetaReyes costs $1,000 and has now reached version 3.0. This latest version has replaced the metaballs – graphic spheres that enable designers to create organic figures such as dinosaurs – with muscles.
The result is a program that can simulate the contractions and dilations of muscular behavior, enabling the user to reproduce an athlete in motion whose bones are highlighted when the skin tautens. Excellent effects can be achieved when this software is applied recreating light and shade, fabrics and hair, for example. To date, 2,000 overseas clients have bought MetaReyes, including Walt Disney Co, Lucas Arts Entertainment Inc, the NASA research center, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, and the program has also been sold to graphics research departments at several North American universities. On the strength of their international success, de Espona and Reyes decided to seek investors to back further projects to be undertaken by the newly-named REM Infografica SA. Financial support was swift to arrive from Telefonica Publicidad e Informacion, the Telefonica de Espana SA division that handles Yellow Pages, which has agreed to put forward 60% of an initial first-year investment of $3.9m. Telefonica had previously completed a market study in the US and concluded that the computer graphics sector has enormous growth potential, particularly with respect to three-dimensional design. REM Infografica currently employs 110 staff and is principally involved in developing a virtual library of objects for sale to the audio-visual industry. A sales office is soon to be opened in California. Its other main project is the creation of a library of three-dimensional models made up of collections of cars, planes, boats, animals and so on, which are sold on the Internet. It has a team of 60 working on the library, which already comprises some 1,200 models.
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