3D Generative AI Startup Atlas Raises $4.5M

Generative AI 3D asset creation startup Atlas has picked up $4.5 million in a grant from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The Vienna-based developer leverages large language models (LLMs) and other generative AI tools to produce digital characters, settings, and other objects from text descriptions and visual references in far less time than the traditional methods.

Atlas AI

Atlas describes its goal as streamlining the design and coding necessary for building virtual worlds, video games, and other aspects of online experiences. The startup claims to have accelerated the process by as much as 200 times the speed of the more labor-intensive approach. Atlas formed in 2021 but only came out of stealth last year when it announced a %6 million funding round. Previously, the company relied on research grants from organizations like the European Union’s High-Level Expert Group on AI to both develop the technology in-house and shape it to abide by the EU’s evolving rules around AI.

The company counts many digital experience and video game makers as clients, both independent studios and big names like Shrapnel and Square Enix, who are both now investors. The new money is part of a three-year accelerator grant to support new work and technical tools for 3D generative AI creation. Most of the money will be awarded in 2025 and 2026, depending on whether Atlas reaches certain benchmarks determined by the grant providers.

“Receiving this grant signifies trust and belief in Atlas’s 3D generative AI innovation, not just as a participant in the space, but as the leader,” Atlas CEO Ben James said. “As we chart an exciting path forward, we remain relentless in our dedication to push the boundaries of what’s possible when technology and creativity converge. Our global ambitions are made possible by our Austrian roots, and this funding is a high honor.”

Applying generative AI models for 3D object creation is growing in popularity as text-to-image generators become increasingly ubiquitous. OpenAI has actually built two models with different approaches to the task, starting with Point-E in 2022 and followed by the more advanced and capable Shap-E last May. Roblox is also experimenting with generative AI tools for game asset creation, writing the code for objects and their behavior in a virtual environment.

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