Cubic Motion Announces New Compression Technology
Press release from Cubic Motion:
Cubic Motion, leading provider of software and services for facial animation, today announced the availability of new ultra-high compression technology - unique to facial animation - designed to allow very large volumes of high-end animation to be stored in games without the loss of integrity or timing seen in generic compression methods. The system removes developers' need for low-quality procedural content or basic lipsync animation which detracts from the coherent artistic appearance of major titles and makes extensive high-quality animation impossible on smaller mobile platforms.
Behind the method lies advanced breakthroughs in statistical modelling, embedding extensive learned knowledge of natural facial movement, whilst still producing a generic system applicable to any facial rig and any game engine, and which preserves every detail of the most subtle facial animation with perfect timing.
The system offers massively compressed storage of animation data - going far beyond what is possible in game engines alone. Storing tens of hours of animation, without loss of detail, is now possible on any platform, even on subtle rigs such as in this example: http://bit.ly/GFsQhS
Each system is custom-built for a developer's own rigs and their choice of game engine, in a process that takes a few weeks. Any developer can purchase a compression system from Cubic and apply it to their in-game animation, regardless of how they created the animation. The system is also offered free-of-charge to any client purchasing more than two hours of facial animation data from Cubic.
Dr. Steve Caulkin, the Chief Scientist who led the research, explained: "Cubic started out mostly creating high-end animation for cutscenes - it’s always been a frustration to us that 'in-game' animation is almost always of a much lower quality. This quality-switching between different characters and different scenes is an ugly feature of modern games and wouldn't be acceptable in other art forms such as movies or TV shows. Our mission is to make sure all games can have great characters and animation throughout the game. The first barrier to overcome was cost. Few studios could afford fifteen hours, say, of high-end animation, if the only option was some form of performance capture – a much more involved process than just recording voice. We created a completely new option for large-scale animation with our emotive animation system, a radical alternative to procedural lipsync tools, but developers still face storage issues for high-quality content. This is even more of a problem in mobile of course. That's why we created this whole new suite of technology for compression. We think that everything - price, speed, storage - is now in place to open up entire games, on all platforms, to great facial animation. It's time to see the end of 'mouth-flapping' and for gamers and developers to expect and demand compelling characters throughout every product."