Nvidia buys software company

The graphics chip leader acquires software start-up Exluna, which settled a copyright lawsuit filed by Pixar Animation Studios.

Graphics chip leader Nvidia announced on Monday that it has acquired software start-up Exluna, which settled a copyright lawsuit filed by Pixar Animation Studios.

Founded two years ago by a group of former Pixar artists, Berkeley, Calif.-based Exluna specialized in tools for creating 3D images for film and other media. The company's products include Entropy, a $2,250 package of tools for rendering 3D images, and the free Blue Moon Rendering Tools package.

Pixar's lawsuit, filed last March in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleged that Exluna's products infringed on Emeryville, Calif.-based Pixar's patents for RenderMan, a $5,000 package of rendering tools used by many leading animation studios.

Details of the settlement, which was also announced Monday, and terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Nvidia representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Nvidia said in a statement that the acquisition is intended to boost Cg, its new set of software tools intended to ease the programming chores associated with creating high-level graphics effects.

Programming has emerged the main focus of the latest generation of PC graphics processors. Enhancements to Microsoft's ubiquitous DirectX library of graphics instructions allow graphics chips to execute complex programming routines rather than merely taking orders from the PC main processor.

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