Google buys Zync, maker of visual effects software

NEW YORK — Special effects are awesome. Special effects are also expensive, which is one reason why budget movies feel like budget movies. If Google has its way, special effects will continue to become cheaper and more accessible.

The Internet giant said Tuesday that it bought Boston-based Zync Inc., the maker of Zync Render, a “cloud-based rendering software.” That’s software that helps movie studios take simple, computer-generated pictures of things like a giant robot bashing through a wall and make them look real (or at least kind of real) in movies like the “Transformers” series.

Zync Render has been used in movies like “Flight,” the Denzel Washington picture about a drunk and drugged-out airline pilot, as well as “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which needless to say had a lot of visual effects, according to an announcement on Google’s Cloud Platform Blog.


Google wouldn’t say how much it paid for Zync. The company will integrate Zync’s data and technology into the Google Cloud Platform, and move off Amazon Web Services.

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Cloud networks — the biggest being Amazon’s Amazon Web Services and Google’s Cloud Platform — help companies grow quickly because instead of having to buy 1 million computers to host their data, companies can just rent them from giants like Amazon and Google.

Google has been beefing up its Cloud Platform recently, buying Stackdriver, a maker of cloud-monitoring software, in May.

And while the Google Cloud Platform already had rendering services, Zync, which was spun out of the visual effects studio ZERO VFX, has deep ties to the movie industry. Industry watchers expect Google to continue adding technological bells and whistles to its Cloud Platform — including through acquisitions — in a bid to get more customers and industries to rent space on its cloud.