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Digital Domain Introduces Masquerade 2.0 Facial Capture System

Next generation of company’s in-house technology allows complex facial motions to be added to every moment of gameplay 10x faster; powerful enough for feature films, but accessible enough for game development.

Digital Domain has introduced Masquerade 2.0, the next iteration of its in-house facial capture system, bringing feature film-quality characters to next-gen games, episodics and commercials. The same technology used to create Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War can now be applied to smaller projects, bringing the depth and emotion of an actor’s performance to any screen.

Masquerade 2.0 delivers a photorealistic 3D character and dozens of hours of performance in a few months. Using machine learning, it has been trained to accurately capture expressive details down to the wrinkles on an actor’s face, without limiting their on-set movement. This freedom has helped bring emotive characters to high-end projects for years.

“Digital Domain innovations are responsible for some of the most memorable visuals of the past 27 years,” commented Digital Domain executive director and chief executive officer, Daniel Seah. “With Masquerade 2.0, digital humans will not only grow more accessible to our clients, but more realistic and appealing to audiences, raising the prestige and credibility of our industry around the world.”

Until now, a Masquerade-level character required thousands of hours of animation time, only to be too data-intensive for gameplay. Now, complex facial motions can be added to every moment, allowing studios to trigger a wide range of emotions/reactions in a character throughout a campaign. Digital Domain has already begun applying this process to next-gen games, turning out over 50 hours of game footage 10x faster than previous methods.

“Masquerade 2.0 is powerful enough for a feature film, but accessible enough for games and other digital character applications, blasting past the constraints that used to hold us back,” explained Digital Domain Digital Humans Group director, Darren Hendler. “Through new optimizations, Masquerade can deliver a one-to-one version of an actor’s performance almost out of the gate, allowing us to keep many details we used to have to throw away. This has completely revolutionized our delivery process, allowing us to turn around assets faster than anybody else. In the past, 50 hours of footage meant 600,000 hours of artist time. Today, Masquerade cuts that by 95%.”

“Our innovation strategy at Digital Domain is all about improving our internal pipelines and serving our clients,” added global VFX president, John Fragomeni. “Delivering believable human-driven performance is not just vital for our features clients, but for our game, episodic and streaming, experiential and advertising clients as well. As audiences become more and more expectant of near-flawless imagery for all their content, we are constantly pushing to create solutions that are superior in quality, faster and adaptable to any form of entertainment.”

Masquerade 2.0 is fully scalable and available now for all Digital Domain clients, as part of a full asset creation process that includes consultation, motion capture, animation, and design. 

Source: Digital Domain