The other day, I showed you guys what I thought was some really impressive computer generated facial animation. Then, the guys over at Image Metrics sent me a video clip of their latest CG creation, Emily, and I was bowled over.
Emily is a truly monumental achievement, recreating every nuance of human facial expression, even though what you’re actually looking at is the face of a digital actor. Created through a partnership with USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), the team’s primary objective was to create a completely convincing, animated computer-generated face, and I think they succeeded.
Using ICT’s special scanning system that can capture facial details down to the individual pore, the face of actress Emily O’Brien was transformed into a digital representation of herself, which could then be entirely machine-manipulated. A special spherical lighting rig captured O’Brien in 35 reference facial poses using a pair of high resolution digital cameras. The facial maps were then converted into 3D data using Image Metrics’ proprietary markerless motion capture technology.
Image Metrics then generated a new animation sequence and precisely superimposed it onto the live actress’ head. As you can see from the video below, you’d be really hard-pressed to tell the difference between digital Emily and real-world Emily.
Amazing, no? Be sure to check out some of Image Metrics’ other CGI projects, which include work on Grand Theft Auto IV, Devil May Cry 4, and a most excellent Gnarls Barkley video featuring a anthropomorphic singing heart.