Two advertising executives who quit their jobs to develop their own 3D software have secured over £450,000 in investment to help them launch their product.

Ben Cyzer and Tim Phillips have previously created visual effects for TV commercials for brands including Sony, Nike and Samsung and were behind creation of the computer generated penguin in the 2014 John Lewis advert campaign.

They set up London-based Artificial Artists in 2018 to find a way to make 3D animation more suited to the faster pace and lower budgets of digital media.

Their new software platform 3dctrl is said to reduce production time and costs by up to 80%, and allows marketing managers to make their own 3D video and images of products for use in digital ads, social media posts and online shopping sites.

3dctrl was developed with support from private investors. The latest funding round, which was led by Mercia’s EIS Fund with backing from Triple Point Ventures and individual investors, will allow the company to further enhance the product and bring it to market.

Ben Cyzer, the company’s co-founder, said: “3D animation has traditionally been reserved for big budget TV commercials and is prohibitively expensive for digital channels. Our mission is to make 3D visual effects more accessible and affordable, empowering companies to generate their own 3D animation in-house, at speed and at scale.”

Chris Kilroy of investor Mercia added: “Artificial Artists has built a toolkit that provides content creators with the ability to quickly and easily create professional quality 3D videos and images using their brand assets. This investment round will enable the company to further develop the product and bolster its core team. I’m looking forward to working with Ben and Tim as they continue to capitalise on the opportunities available to them moving forward.”