What’s going on with HyperShot?

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Here’s an intriguing situation developing in the rendering and visualisation world. Bunkspeed broke into the rendering world in a storm, providing an easy to use tool that provided instant feedback on your work and enabled the create of stunning imagery in seconds. I’m a fan and you’re probably a fan too.
What most people probably don’t realise, unless you notice the little tag on the splash screen as it starts, is that HyperShot and the underlying technology is licensed from an organisation called Luxion. This is the tech that makes all that real-time ray tracing possible. The technology is the brain child of one Dr. Henrik Wann Jensen – rendering genius and Academy Award winner. Henrik was also the Chief Scientist at Bunkspeed. The key this to reread is one word: was.

I got wind of a change at the tail end of last year as there were rumblings from all manner of places about all not being well at Bunkspeed and the reasons have now become clear. Essentially, Bunkspeed don’t have the license for the ray tracing components that HyperShot is based on. Meaning they can’t sell it anymore. Effective as of the end of December 2009. What’s more, the HyperShot product is now in the hands of Luxion who will continue to develop and sell it. Who is a cofounder of Luxion? Of course, Henrick Wann Jensen. All very confusing indeed, so i contacted both parties to get official statements on the matter. First up, Bunkspeed:

A key piece of licensed technology is no longer available to us as of January 1st.  This means we are unable to offer HyperShot for sale any more.
We are working on some very cool new product that we will have a major announcement about soon that will put further speculation to rest.  You will be the first to hear!

Philip Lunn, CEO, Bunkspeed

Lunn also cleared up two of the most immediate questions. For those on maintenance and support, they “will be provided with our new generation product that is expected in a few months.” Also, if you’re working on current, long term projects, that data within the existing products will be fully transportable to the next generation products.

Now. What about Luxion. I got a rapid response from Dr. Henrik on the subject, which intrigued me greatly. he has this to say:


Here is the summary. HyperShot will remain available. The situation is as follows. Luxion ApS is a separate company. We are the exclusive developer of HyperShot. It is based on our comprehensive set of rendering libraries that we have developed over a period of more than 10 years. HyperShot was sold by Bunkspeed under a license agreement until last year. We ended the license agreement, since Bunkspeed did not pay us the license fees, that we had agreed to, for more than a year. Instead, Luxion will market and sell the HyperShot software.  We expect to make a release shortly.

Henrik Wann Jensen
Chief Scientist and Cofounder
Luxion ApS

There you go. An interesting thing. Luxion has the product and seemingly, the name. Bunkspeed has the customers. Let’s see who wins. I do wonder what HyperShot users make of this. It has something rather special about it, but that specialness is something quite intangible. There are similar technologies (from Luxology and ART-VPS) and it wouldn’t take a great deal to replicate it. Interesting times indeed. And this is the first week of 2010.

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