Faceware’s new end-to-end tool suite helps animators create high-fidelity facial performances 3-10x faster than hand keying.
Press release from Faceware Technologies:
SANTA MONICA, CA – Faceware Technologies, a leading provider of 3D facial animation software for the video game, film, television and commercial industries, announced that it has launched its Faceware Professional Product Line, a low-cost, start-to-finish facial animation tool suite built to capture, analyze and create realistic facial performances 3-10x faster than hand keying that same performance. The Faceware Professional Product Line, which until now has only been in production testing at select studios, includes completely updated versions of the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS) and Faceware Retargeter, and a brand new product called Faceware Analyzer. This marks the first time Faceware has offered all of its internal technologies for use in studios.
“With shrinking budgets and shorter production timelines, studios are trying to create better quality animations earlier in the production process to save both time and money,” said Ron Ryder, CEO of Faceware Technologies. “By offering all of our technologies as a turnkey suite of hardware and software that can be operated internally, we’re giving studios greater control of their animation timeline and their valuable IP, and enabling them to create better facial performances at the beginning of the production process.”
“This is our first time working with Faceware and we have been very impressed by their products and team,” said a spokesperson from the animation studio, Marza Animation Planet. “Faceware is a boon for our studio through its ability to reduce costs by speeding up the animation process. Integrating both Faceware Retargeter and Faceware Head Mounted Cameras into our production has required little effort and has been a smooth transition for our animation team."
The Faceware Professional Product Line has its roots in the Company’s extensive knowledge and research in computer vision techniques in facial and gesture recognition, and from the Company’s vast experience in providing facial animation services on groundbreaking projects such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Wolfman, the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption, Halo: Reach and many others.
The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of technologies to handle every step in the facial animation process: video capture, performance analysis, and facial animation creation:
CAPTURE: The Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS) consists of a durable helmet, bracing, camera mount and camera, and works in tandem with MoCap suits to capture data-rich facial video complete with time code. Now in its 5th generation, the HMCS is capable of capturing up to 7 million pixels per second for incredible performance fidelity. It is available for rent or purchase.
ANALYZE: Faceware Analyzer is a new product offering from Faceware Technologies. It allows customers to analyze facial performances captured with the HMCS or other video capturing technology for a small processing fee only. The animator “trains” Faceware Analyzer to learn about the actor’s specific appearance and performance, and the software uses that information to analyze every frame of the video. All tracking is handled on site, so no assets or IP leave the studio. Once the shot is tracked, computer vision algorithms parameterize the data to examine every pixel of facial data in the performance and to create an IMPD file that can then be used in Faceware Retargeter.
CREATE: The updated Faceware Retargeter is a free tool that takes the IMPD file created in Analyzer and transfers the data onto the 3D model. With a newly designed front end and a handful of new features, Faceware Retargeter creates a more complete blocking of the animation and gives animators more time to polish the performance with realistic facial movements. The Retargeter can be used on any type of facial rig, and plugs into many different software packages (Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder), letting the animator work in a familiar environment and workflow.
Faceware Analyzer and Retargeter are free to evaluate and can be downloaded directly from Faceware’s website, www.facewaretech.com. Both come with a free IMPD Performance Library and Rig Library, to help users get up to speed faster. The Faceware HMCS is available for rent or purchase. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.