3D content and software developer DAZ 3D has merged with Gizmoz, a company specializing in personalized and portable avatars, to combine their strengths in creating digital characters and accessories across multiple platforms, from social networks to mobile applications.
The two companies also raised an undisclosed amount from previous investors in a new round of funding.
Based in Tel Aviv, Gizmoz offers a combination of 3D face-mapping technology, face manipulation, and automatic face detection that enable users to create 3D characters from a single photo of their face. It provides a central service for designing, managing, and transporting digital avatars that can be dropped into virtual worlds, online games, PC/console titles, video clips, greeting cards, professional modeling and animation tools.
In addition to hosting a library of digital characters and accessories, Utah-based DAZ 3D develops a line of software to support that community, including free 3D digital art creation tool DAZ Studio, lip-synching application Carrara, and 3D environment and animation package Bryce. The products are used in various professional productions such as video games, television shows, and print publications.
The two firms plan to bring their offerings together to create a "substantially more expansive virtual goods design center and marketplace" for creative professionals, gamers, and consumers. They believe the merger will enhance the distributive capabilities of custom avatars as well, allowing users to manage and transport them across any virtual environment or production pipeline.
"The combination of DAZ 3D and Gizmoz fills a true void within the industry. Now users can experience expansion into virtual worlds, cross-platform gaming, mobile applications and more, while maintaining high-quality results and endless creativity," said Dan Farr, who was president and co-founder of DAZ 3D and is now serving as the merged company's CEO. Gizmoz founder and CEO Eyal Gever will take on the role of president.
Farr continued, "DAZ 3D customers have been demanding more personalized content and neighboring markets have requested we expand to meet their needs as well. With this merger our company is uniquely poised to provide extended portability, support and creativity to our ever-growing user base."
DAZ 3D and Gizmoz complete da new round of funding led by previous investors Benchmark Capital, Highway 12 Ventures, and Columbia Capital. DOCOMO Capital and Village Ventures also participated in the round. The merged company plans to devote the new funding on what it sees as "significant market opportunity for character-centric virtual goods", and will unveil its first new products in the first quarter of 2010.