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Our Company


In 1996, Karl Sims, renowned digital artist and computer scientist, founded GenArts® so visual effect artists could leverage the power of supercomputing techniques to craft and perfect their artistic looks effortlessly. Together with Chief Scientist Gary Oberbrunner, they combined the power of computer science with the art of visual effects to create GenArts’ Sapphire technology and a vast portfolio of visual effects. Since then, the world’s most talented visual effects artists have come to depend on Sapphire software to create the looks you see on television, in ads, online and at the movies. Today, GenArts is the leading provider of specialized visual effects software to the media and advertising industries worldwide.

Our Mission

Our founding mission remains the same as it was in 1996:

Empower the world’s greatest storytellers with the art and science of visual effects to bring their stories to life, inspire creativity and increase audience engagement.

 

Our Promise

For the past 17 years, we’ve been committed to delivering the highest quality visual effects software and customer support so video creators can bring stories to life and watch them soar. Our goal is to make the power of visual effects accessible to every video creator who wants to improve the quality and appeal of their stories.

Our History

1996

  • Karl Sims starts GenArts, Inc. and is one of the first suppliers of Discreet Spark plug-ins.

1997

  • Fellow MIT classmate of Karl Sims, Gary Oberbrunner, joins GenArts as Vice President of Engineering with the aim to scale the company’s technology and expand its visual effects portfolio.

2000

  • GenArts releases Sapphire version 3.0 for Autodesk System products.

2001

  • GenArts releases Sapphire Plug-ins version 1.0 for Avid, significantly broadening the market for visual effects software tools by reaching thousands of Avid nonlinear editors worldwide.

2004

  • GenArts releases Sapphire Plug-ins version 1.0 for After Effects. Sapphire now runs on Autodesk, Avid, Shake, and Adobe After Effects compatible products including After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Combustion, Premiere, Digital Fusion, Quantel with Synapse, and 844/X.

2005

  • GenArts partners with Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) to integrate Sapphire into the school’s curriculum and help train 2,000 students per year.

2006

  • GenArts unveils Sapphire version 2.0, adds over 30 new effects and expands its platform compatibility to Avid AVX 2.0, and releases Sapphire version 2.0 for Shake.
  • The company celebrates its 10th anniversary.

2007

  • GenArts launches Sapphire version 4.0 for Autodesk Systems products. The new version features over 40 new effects and new parameters for existing effects.

2008

  • Insight Venture Partners, a leading private equity and venture capital firm, invests in GenArts and appoints Katherine Hays CEO as part of a broader strategy to expand market share while leveraging GenArts’ core culture of quality and existing understanding of its customers.
  • GenArts releases Sapphire Plug-ins for Apple FxPlug products, including Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express and Motion. Sapphire now contains over 200 image processing and synthesis effects, including FilmDamage, ZDefocus, Cartoon, BleachBypass, GradientMulti, SwishPan, Deband and Vignette.

2009

  • GenArts launches a multi-year effort to re-architect its core Sapphire effects technology to better serve the rapidly expanding global market of video creators.
  • GenArts initiates plans to expand its portfolio of visual effects and acquires UK-based SpeedSix Software Ltd, the creator of renowned Monsters and Raptors visual effects software.
  • GenArts becomes a founding member of the Open Effects Association, a non-profit, UK-based company that aims to develop and promote open standards across the visual effects community.
  • GenArts files a patent for sharing, storing and refining visual effects presets for video editing, compositing and motion graphics. The patent application covers ways to share presets across different host editing or finishing systems and allows for the emergence of a user community around presets independent of any individual host platform.
  • GenArts signs an agreement with Lucasfilm covering Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Animation, and Lucasfilm Animation Singapore to make GenArts software the standard across all their compositing packages and to work together moving forward.
  • GenArts appoints Dr. David Sturman to its executive team as Chief Technology Officer. Sturman brings over 30 years of experience in the technology industry – primarily centered on digital imagery for movies, television, games and the Internet. Sturman will lead the company’s product development efforts alongside Gary Oberbrunner, GenArts’ Chief Scientist.
  • GenArts acquires Wondertouch Ltd that specializes in particle-based visual effects such as smoke, clouds, comets, fireworks and explosions. The acquisition complements the Sapphire portfolio of effects and formally marks GenArts’ entrance into the broader professional market with the addition of Wondertouch’s over 10,000 customers.

2010

  • GenArts acquires Tinder from the UK-based The Foundry and also announces co-marketing agreement with The Foundry to collaborate on the development of GenArts visual effects software for The Foundry’s host platform Nuke.
  • GenArts launches Sapphire version 5.0 leveraging a rebuilt effects architecture that improves speed and configures easily to support multiple user interfaces on a common underlying visual effects engine. The Sapphire engine guarantees stability, image quality and speed.

2011

  • GenArts names former Artisan Entertainment CEO Amir Malin to the Board of Directors as an Independent Director. Malin co-founded and is now Managing Principal of Qualia Capital, a private investment. Before Qualia, Malin helped Artisan grow from a home video distributor (known as LIVE Entertainment) to a leading, privately held independent film entertainment company. In 2003, he oversaw Artisan’s merger with Lionsgate. Malin also served as President of October Films and founded Cinecom Films.
  • GenArts announces a partnership with leading film school University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (USC SCA) to provide USC students and faculty access to GenArts visual effects software. GenArts software is taught in the core curriculum each semester to aid in the advancement of the next generation of filmmakers.
  • GenArts releases Sapphire Edge, a new visual effects software product that further expands GenArts reach into the broader video market. Powered by GenArts’ core Sapphire technology, a Sapphire Edge license offers users a portfolio of 350+ unique and pre-built looks.
  • GenArts launches Sapphire version 6.0 for Autodesk, Avid, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and OFX platforms. Sapphire version 6.0 also included a redesigned LensFlare effect and Flare Designer, in addition to new effects, transitions and other enhanced effects. Sapphire for Autodesk now supports floating and universal licensing across platforms.

2012

  • GenArts works with Apple to release Sapphire Edge 1.1 for Final Cut Pro X and is one of the first visual effects companies to support the new editing application.
  • GenArts launches Monsters GT 7.0, available with flexible buying options for the first time. VFX and motion graphics artists can now buy the distinctive effects they need more cost-effectively.
  • GenArts Sapphire Edge is recognized by leading post-production publications as a leader in the industry at NAB 2012, winning "Best New Technology" at the StudioDaily Prime Awards and "Best of Show" in the Digital Video Black Diamond Awards.
  • GenArts introduces Sapphire Edge 2.0, the first version of Sapphire Edge to be compatible with Premiere Pro.

2013

  • GenArts launches Sapphire version 7.0 for Autodesk, Avid, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and OFX platforms. Sapphire version 7.0 includes new and enhanced effects, speed enhancements, more than 2,500 presets, preset sharing across hosts, and real time rendering (Avid only).
Katherine Hays, Chief Executive Officer

Katherine joined GenArts as CEO in June 2008 with a vision to extend the market for visual effects software tools to a wider range of mediums and artists. Since joining, Katherine has led the acquisitions of wondertouch, UK-based SpeedSix, Ltd., and the Tinder business (formerly part of The Foundry); conceived and executed innovative strategic alliance agreements with Lucasfilm Ltd. and The Foundry; added new senior level hires to the company’s management team; and expanded GenArts’ presence to the West Coast. In 2011, Katherine won a Stevie® Award for Women in Business for successfully enabling GenArts to deliver visual effects to all video creators.

Prior to GenArts, Katherine was the co-founder and COO/CFO of Massive Incorporated and led the sale of the company to Microsoft Corporation where she then served for two years as a Senior Director for Microsoft and COO of Massive Incorporated leading the company’s and Microsoft’s post acquisition integration effort. Katherine is the co-inventor and author of two technical patents relating to Massive’s real-time advertising solution, and, during her time at Microsoft, authored an additional patent for composite media delivery.

Katherine began her career in media industry general management and finance. She is a former equity research analyst with Goldman Sachs, where she covered global media companies, including AOL Time Warner, Disney, News Corp., and Vivendi Universal. She also headed the firm's digital and interactive media team. Katherine worked in investment banking with Salomon Smith Barney in the firm’s media and communications practice prior to her time at Goldman. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Art and Archaeology, and holds an MBA from The Harvard Business School.

Katherine serves as a Board Member and Trustee for The George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, and serves on the Board of American and International Friends of the Louvre, for the Musée du Louvre.

Gary Oberbrunner, Chief Scientist, VP of Engineering

An MIT graduate, Gary has been developing graphics software for more than 25 years. A visionary developer with a brilliant mind, Gary is responsible for the continued evolution of Sapphire and oversees all aspects of technology and development at GenArts.

He started his career in 1984 at Masscomp as a hardware engineer, but his interest in parallel supercomputer graphics soon led him to Thinking Machines Corporation. In 1993 he moved to Advanced Visual Systems, where as Chief Architect he developed high-end scientific visualization software and visual programming systems. He joined Karl at GenArts in 1997 and they have worked closely together ever since.

In addition to his work at GenArts, he is a Director of the Open Effects Association. His research interests include image processing, parallel programming systems, visualization algorithms, and advanced computer architectures.

George Finnegan, Vice President of Finance/Controller

George joined GenArts as Vice President of Finance/Controller in March 2013.  Prior to joining GenArts, George was Vice President of Finance at Genzyme Corporation where he was responsible for worldwide manufacturing finance and, most recently, was controller for Genzyme’s manufacturing facility in Allston. 

Before moving into biotechnology, George spent 18 years in high tech including working as Vice President Finance at EnvoyWorldWide, Inc. and as CFO for MarketMax, Inc.  He also worked at Lotus Development Corporation where he was Director of Finance and EMEA Controller.  George started his career with Ernst and Young where he acquired his CPA certification.  George graduated with honors from Bentley University with a degree in accounting and has an MBA from Boston University.  

Mike Budreau, Director of Sales

Mike joined GenArts in December 2008 as a member of the inside sales team where he works with customers to better understand their business and project goals in order to recommend the most effective GenArts solutions available. Prior to GenArts, Mike worked in business development for TLC, a Boston based marketing agency.

Mike holds a marketing degree from Bentley University and enjoys playing sports, cooking, and watching movies. Some of his favorites include football, burritos, and 300.

Nick Rodrigues, Senior Account Manager

Nick joined GenArts in November 2009 as a member of the inside sales team. A graduate of Boston College, Nick majored in communications and has over four years of sales experience. Born and raised in Boston, Nick is a dedicated fan of Boston sports, including the Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Revolution, and beloved BC Eagles.

When not at GenArts, Nick enjoys community service, video games, graphic designing, watching movies, playing sports, and a fun night on the town. When away from GenArts Nick is typically referred to as Chef Boya-Nick for his culinary arts skills.

Chris Boyd, Account Manager

Chris joined GenArts in April of 2012 as a member of the inside sales team. Before coming to GenArts, he worked in both radio and cable TV advertising. Chris is a 2010 graduate of Northeastern University, where he majored in communications and minored in business.

Raised in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Chris is an avid fan of all activities that involve being on a Lake Winnipesaukee. Chris is also a passionate Boston sports fan and enjoys going to live sporting events. He also enjoys fishing, playing basketball, going out with friends, watching movies, and spending time with his dog Yeti.

 

Katherine Hays, Chief Executive Officer

Katherine joined GenArts as CEO in June 2008 with a vision to extend the market for visual effects software tools to a wider range of mediums and artists. Since joining, Katherine has led the acquisitions of wondertouch, UK-based SpeedSix, Ltd., and the Tinder business (formerly part of The Foundry); conceived and executed innovative strategic alliance agreements with Lucasfilm Ltd. and The Foundry; added new senior level hires to the company’s management team; and expanded GenArts’ presence to the West Coast. In 2011, Katherine won a Stevie® Award for Women in Business for successfully enabling GenArts to deliver visual effects to all video creators.

Prior to GenArts, Katherine was the co-founder and COO/CFO of Massive Incorporated and led the sale of the company to Microsoft Corporation where she then served for two years as a Senior Director for Microsoft and COO of Massive Incorporated leading the company’s and Microsoft’s post acquisition integration effort. Katherine is the co-inventor and author of two technical patents relating to Massive’s real-time advertising solution, and, during her time at Microsoft, authored an additional patent for composite media delivery.

Katherine began her career in media industry general management and finance. She is a former equity research analyst with Goldman Sachs, where she covered global media companies, including AOL Time Warner, Disney, News Corp., and Vivendi Universal. She also headed the firm's digital and interactive media team. Katherine worked in investment banking with Salomon Smith Barney in the firm’s media and communications practice prior to her time at Goldman. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Art and Archaeology, and holds an MBA from The Harvard Business School.

Katherine serves as a Board Member and Trustee for The George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, and serves on the Board of American and International Friends of the Louvre, for the Musée du Louvre.

Karl Sims, Founder

Widely known as both a digital artist and computer scientist, Karl has long been at the forefront of integrating art and technology. After receiving his Master’s in Visual Studies from the MIT Media Lab, Karl moved to California, where he developed special effects software for Hollywood production firms. He returned to Cambridge in 1990 and joined Thinking Machines Corporation (manufacturer of massively parallel supercomputers) as Artist in Residence and Research Scientist. During this period, Karl created his own works of computer animation based on his models of computational evolution. The creation of GenArts Sapphire in 1996 was a culmination of Karl’s endeavors in computer programming, his study of the special effects industry and his artistic talent. Karl has been the recipient of numerous scientific and creative awards throughout the course of his career, including the MacArthur Fellowship for “extraordinary originality and dedication in creative pursuits.”

Nikitas Koutoupes, Board Member

Nikitas Koutoupes co-manages Insight Onsite, the firm’s team of consultants and functional experts who provide hands-on operational assistance and strategic advice to Insight’s portfolio companies. In addition to his Onsite, due diligence, and portfolio responsibilities, Mr. Koutoupes is one of the firm’s experts in online and on-demand business models.

Mr. Koutoupes joined Insight in 2001. Prior to Insight, he co-founded and was the Chief Financial Officer of CTSpace, an on-demand software company that became part of Insight’s portfolio and was subsequently acquired by the Sword Group. He was previously an Associate with McKinsey & Company, where he worked on strategy, turnaround, M & A, and corporate finance engagements across a variety of industries.

Mr. Koutoupes received an MBA with high distinction (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School and a BA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Amir Malin, Board Member

Mr. Amir J. Malin is currently employed at Qualia Capital LLC. He has been involved in the independent film movement for over 23 years and is considered one of its leading figures and strategic thinkers. His background involves marketing, distribution in all media, content acquisition, and mergers and acquisitions activity. Most recently, Mr. Malin served as the Chief Executive Officer of Artisan Entertainment. He was involved in all facets of Artisan's growth from a struggling publicly held home video distributor (known as LIVE Entertainment) to the leading privately held independent filmed entertainment company. With LIVE Entertainment, Mr. Malin inherited a library of 2,500 titles, which he quickly expanded into a world-class library of close to 7,000 titles. During his tenure, Artisan was transformed into a mighty distribution machine with operating capabilities in the theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, pay television, and free television marketplace. Prior to his recruitment by Bain Capital to join the LIVE/Artisan transaction in July 1997, Mr. Malin was the President of October Films. He joined October Films concurrent with an investment led by Allen & Company in 1992. Mr. Malin was involved in product acquisition (including the Oscar-nominated film Secrets & Lies, Breaking The Waves, and The Last Seduction), all facets of distribution, and strategic initiatives. In 1997, he helped guide October to a successful sale of 51% of its equity to the Universal Motion Picture Group. In 1982, Mr. Malin founded Cinecom Films, which was sold to SBK Entertainment World in 1989 and he served as a Consultant to the company. He is an honors graduate of Brandeis University and Boston University School of Law.

Qualia Capital LLC is a principal investment firm specializing in debt and equity investments in companies. It invests in media and entertainment sectors with an emphasis on intellectual property asset portfolios. The firm also makes structured investments on a project basis in intellectual property assets. Qualia Capital LLC is headquartered in New York, New York with an additional office in Los Angeles, California.

Jeff Horing, Board Member

Jeff Horing is a Managing Director at Insight Venture Partners, which he co-founded in 1995. Under his leadership Insight has become the leading private equity firm focused on growth investments in software and Internet businesses, with $3 billion under management. Mr. Horing’s areas of focus include mobile, online gaming, data, infrastructure, and Internet software. Mr. Horing is a former member of the board of directors of Airborne Entertainment (acquired by Cybird Co.), CTSpace (acquired by Sword Group), Beechwood Data Systems (acquired by The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Group), Greenfield Online (NASDAQ: SRVY, acquired by Microsoft), Hitwise (acquired by Experian Group Limited), IAG Research (acquired by The Nielsen Company), Promira Software (acquired by Manugistics), Shunra Software (WAN emulation), SLP Infoware (acquired by Gemplus), and Xchange (NASDAQ: EXAP).

Mr. Horing currently serves on the board of directors of Datacore Software (storage virtualization), GFI (security & messaging), Jagex Ltd (online gaming), Mentez (publisher of online social games), 6Waves (publisher of online social games), SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) (network monitoring), and Teamviewer (remote desktop collaboration).

Prior to founding Insight, Jeff Horing was a key member of the technology investing team at E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co. Earlier in his career he worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Capital Markets group.

Mr. Horing holds an MBA from the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. He has dual undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Engineering and Wharton School, where he graduated with high honors and was Phi Beta Kappa.