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Image Metrics Emily Cg Facial Animation Blows My Mind


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.

Emily CGI Facial Animation by Image Metrics and ICT

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.

Emily CGI Facial Animation by Image Metrics and ICT

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.

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Comments (117):

  1. James says:

    I mean, in theory that is what a digital video camera does. So to an average user this does not sound any more difficult than some advanced video editing.

  2. Vince Van says:

    I’m impressed, thank you for posting!

  3. definitely use a person to create facial maps is essential and luckily there is software that can manipulate and convert these movements in 3D virtual images which are indeed very similar to real faces. It is very important to use this technique especially for animated movies and games which I spend hours and hours a day tratando.Ahora is something that has long had doubts. Thanks i love games and mivies 3D

  4. pc says:

    Image Metrics company is very good, specializes in creating facial animation for films, video games.

  5. woow!! When i first saw her i thought she was real! A human, oh boy, that´s amazing!! you´re great guys

  6. just one word!! Awesome!!! :D

  7. como bajar de peso en una semana says:

    puts sincere technology is a beauty if not for technology we nosabrias where this world would be

  8. Ian says:

    Definitely impressive, though there’s just something very slight that seems to give it away – and I can’t pinpoint it. It’s as though the generated features still seem to slide or hover a little over the real thing, and though that wouldn’t explain it – I looks a bit ‘animatronic’ at points.

  9. says:

    definitely use a person to create facial maps is essential and luckily there is software that can manipulate and convert these movements in 3D virtual images which are indeed very similar to real faces It must also be a change in your body

  10. Alimentos Que Queman Grasa says:

    It’s amazing what technology can achieve, but never replace, the human talent that achieves miracles with his hands

  11. Eduardo Rodríguez - Bajar de peso says:

    Facial animation is incredible, in the near future, we will be watching a movie or chatting with someone, but never know if its true face, because the movements and gestures are perfect …

  12. says:

    It’s amazing how technology has exceeded limits, I think the progress we are going to improve her life soon.

  13. Zak says:

    Or… or… or!! Hear me out here. We could just use the real actress? Hm… No no that would never work too easy and not expensive enough.

  14. Cocina Metabolica says:

    I am really stuned by this image matrics thing. it really hard to believe that the above is a computer generated image rather than a pictures. A great innovation, I look forward to seeing how this compares with the Macro Institutes “facial expression and recognition” study.

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