Faceware Technologies Unveils Retargeter 4.0 with AutoSolve

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New software upgrade creates quality markerless facial motion capture from video at unprecedented speed

Sherman Oaks, Calif. – March 21, 2013 – Faceware Technologies, the leading provider of markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions, today unveiled Retargeter 4.0, a major upgrade to its award-winning Faceware software. The
new software's key features, which include AutoSolve, Expression Sets, Tracking Visualization, Shared Pose Thumbnails and Batch Processing, focus on automating more of the facial motion capture process, as well as simplifying creative collaboration. The new software will be on display at this year's Game Developers Conference in booth #1036 (March 27-29).

Retargeter 4.0 is a lightweight plug-in to Autodesk® Maya®, Autodesk® 3ds Max®, Autodesk® Softimage® and Autodesk® MotionBuilder® . It is part of Faceware's Professional Product Line, a suite of facial mocap hardware and software used by some of the most successful franchises in AAA development, including Grand Theft Auto, Assassin's Creed, God of War, Halo, NBA 2K, Red Dead Redemption, and many others. Faceware has also been used on Academy Award-winning feature films and Grammy-winning music videos. Most recently, Faceware Technologies products were used to create acclaimed performances in Crytek's Crysis 3, Square Enix's Sleeping Dogs, Yash Raj Films Ek Tha Tiger, and the upcoming release of Toei Animation's Space Pirate Captain Harlock.

€œIn February, we announced that Retargeter 4.0 is coming. As soon as we did, artists began contacting us to find out more information,€ said Peter Busch, Vice President of Business Development at Faceware Technologies. €œSo in an effort to meet their requests, we're now disclosing more details. While I can't reveal all of the features that will make it into the final release, I can say that every feature, especially AutoSolve, focuses on increasing the quality of your starting point and speeding the more mundane elements of hand animating so that artists can more quickly get to the part that matters: perfecting and polishing performances that set their CG characters apart.€

 

Retargeter 4.0 Key Features:

Expression Sets

An add-on to the Character Setup process, Expression Sets are a group of pre-defined, standard facial poses that are unique to each character in your project. Expression Sets define the style and look of the universal shapes and movements of a character to drive AutoSolve.

 

AutoSolve

Combining the data from IMPD files generated from Faceware Analyzer along with pre-defined facial poses or €˜Expression Sets', Retargeter's AutoSolve can automatically create animation on a video performance with the simple click of a button, giving artists a great first pass in a matter of minutes that they can then fine tune through the award-winning Retargeter pose-driven workflow.

€œAutoSolve is a revolutionary step in facial motion capture,€ explains Busch. €œWe are excited to give studios the opportunity with Retargeter 4.0 to really capitalize on the idea of rapid prototyping. Directors, artists, and producers will now be able to judge performance earlier in their production cycle– making more effective use of facial budgets.€

 

Tracking Visualization

Retargeter 4.0 makes use of an improved IMPD file that contains the complex data needed for AutoSolve– it also contains a helpful way to see the tracking information that comes out of Faceware Analyzer. This feature enables artists to better understand what is going on in the facial tracking process to better utilize Retargeter.

 

Batch Functionality

The command line abilities built into Retargeter 4.0 allow any function within Retargeter to be scripted, letting artists create a complete batch pipeline for facial animation. With minimal character setup and a little basic scripting, artists can easily set up and AutoSolve hundreds of shots overnight. Retargeter 4.0 will support a library of Mel, Python, and MaxScript commands.

 

Shared Pose Thumbnails

Sometimes there are multiple artists using Retargeter for the same character on a project. Retargeter 4.0 now gives artists the ability to add thumbnail images for every pose, so that other artists on the team have a reference for every shared pose and can find what they need faster. Artists have the ability to custom define each thumbnail, such as focusing on a particular area of a pose or showing the entire facial pose.

[imageeffect type=”frame” align=”aligncenter” width=”400″ height=”418″ alt=”Faceware Tracking Visualization” url=”http://www.facewaretech.com/images/SP_01.jpg”]

 

Pricing and Availability

Retargeter 4.0 is slated to launch in April following its beta program. The plug-in will continue to be free and will work with current versions of Faceware Analyzer. Users wishing to use the AutoSolve function will need IMPD files to be created with Analyzer 1.3. Upon launch, Faceware Retargeter 4.0 will be available for the following packages:

  • Autodesk Maya 2010-2013
  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2010-2013
  • Autodesk MotionBuilder 2010-2013
  • Autodesk Softimage 2010-2013

 

Where to See a Product Demonstration

The new software will be shown in demonstrations at Faceware Technologies' Booth #1036 at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and will be discussed in Remington Scott's talk €œPerformance Capture: Insights from the Edge€ on Wednesday, March 27th, from 11:00-12:00 in the West Hall (Room 3001).

GamingBolt – Faceware's Jay Grenier Talks About Motion Capture In Games, Console Limitations, Future of Tech And More

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€œWe recently had an opportunity to interview Jay Grenier, Director, Technical Operations at Faceware Technologies, Inc. Faceware is a company that specializes in facial motion capture for video games as well as movies. They have have brought faces to life in AAA video game franchises like Crysis, Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed. We asked Jay about the future of the technology, the games that are utilizing Faceware and a ton of other interesting things.€

Read the full article here: http://gamingbolt.com/facewares-jay-grenier-talks-about-motion-capture-in-games-console-limitations-future-of-tech-and-more

Faceware Technologies Brings a New Face to the Asian Animation Market

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Faceware Technologies signs two reseller agreements to aggressively target Japan and China with its Facial Motion Capture Technology

(Santa Monica, California–November 18, 2012) Faceware Technologies, a leading provider of 3D facial motion capture solutions for the video game, film, television and commercial industries, today announced that it has dramatically increased its foothold in the Asian market by signing two new resellers: Japan's Crescent Inc,. the exclusive distributor of Vicon Motion Capture Systems to the Japanese entertainment market, and Beijing Ou-Lei Technology, Co, Ltd., a successful supplier of entertainment equipment & solutions in China.

Faceware Technologies, which spun off from the facial motion capture services company Image Metrics at the beginning of 2012, offers its technology to the video game, film, television, and commercial industries via direct sales. Earlier this year, Faceware announced the hiring of a business development director in Europe. Japan's Crescent Inc. and Beijing Ou-Lei Technology are the first resellers Faceware has signed in the growing Asian animation market.

Faceware's move is the result of increasing demand from that geographic region. While Japan has been historically strong in the video game and 2D animation space, with a continued need for more realistic facial animation, China is a more recent entrant onto the animation scene. In April of this year, Disney announced that it would join an initiative to develop China's animation industry. That announcement came on the heels of DreamWorks Animation's announcement of a joint venture with Shanghai Media Group, China's second-largest media company. Together, the announcements point to a surge in the Asian market that Faceware has felt.

€œWe have been selling directly to those markets for a few years, but given the increasing demand and the time differences, it made more sense to partner with companies that know the market and offer complementary technologies to ours,€ said Peter Busch, vice president of business development at Faceware Technologies. €œIn Crescent and Beijing Ou-Lei Technology, we've found two strong partners with deep ties to their countries' entertainment markets.€

€œCrescent is the exclusive distributor of the world-leading Vicon Motion Capture Systems to the entertainment market,” said Hajime Kotani, founder of Crescent Inc. “Faceware’s technology not only offers high-quality, markerless facial motion capture; its ability to work seamlessly with Vicon’s systems allows us to offer animation studios a far more complete solution for performance capture.€

Adds Lei Xi, vice president at Beijing Ou-Lei Technology, Co, Ltd.: €œMarker-based facial motion capture systems are not accurate and very difficult to use. That is the primary reason we decided to work with Faceware Technologies.€

The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of hardware (the optional Faceware Head-Mounted Camera) and software (Faceware Analyzer and Retargeter), which handle every step in the capture and production of high-quality facial animation: facial motion capture, performance analysis, and facial animation creation. Faceware's Analyzer and Retargeter software are free of charge; however, studios and commercial clients must pay a processing fee for the analysis for the captured performance. The Faceware Head-Mounted Camera is available to rent or purchase.

For more information, visit http://www.facewaretech.com or contact info@facewaretech.com.

About Faceware Technologies
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Faceware Technologies Inc. (FTI), which spun off from Image Metrics in 2012, is dedicated to meeting the needs of professional animators in the video game, film, television, and commercial industries. The company's Faceware product line has been utilized in the production of more than 50 AAA video game titles, feature films, music videos, and stage plays, and is the leading facial animation solution provider for clients such as Double Negative, Digital Domain, Blur Studios, Activision-Blizzard, Rockstar Games, Microsoft, 2K Sports, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sega, Sony, Bethesda, Motion Theory and Moving Picture Company. The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS), the 5th generation facial performance capture hardware; Faceware Analyzer, which allows clients to analyze and process their own videos without IP or content going offsite; and Faceware Retargeter, which allows users to create facial animation at a much faster rate than traditional methods.

Analyzer 1.2 Released

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Faceware Tech is happy to announce the release of Analyzer 1.2! The focus of 1.2 has been to increase the speed of the processing as much as possible and reduce the amount of time it takes to export your data. This includes many back-end optimizations as well as an upgrade to a powerful new server. Users should notice a significant boost in the speed of Parameterization. Read on for more info!

Download the new version here.

1.2 Release Notes

Parameterization ImprovementsThe Parameterization process, which can be thought of as the final “export” of facial tracking data, has been sped up significantly. We've focused a considerable amount of effort into optimizing the process on the back-end to increase overall speed and improve the user experience.

Client-Side

  • The overall speed of Parameterization has increased dramatically
  • You will now be alerted instantly if your login credentials are incorrect
  • Messaging during Parameterization has been improved
  • There is now access to a Time Out variable in Options that can adjusted in extreme cases
  • The €˜Web Service URL' has been updated to point to the new server €“ https://secure.facewaretech.com/1.0/

Server-SideWe have migrated our production server to a new AWS (Amazon) cloud-based system. This allows for:

  • Improved processing speeds
  • Quick scalability to adapt to growing production needs of large projects
  • Maximum data security
  • Minimization of service outages

General Improvements

  • You can now click and drag the line between two landmarks to move the two connected points together
  • The issue that produced the error: €œInput String was not in a correct format€ that some users were experiencing has been fixed
  • In some cases, users were experiencing a €œtime out€ from the server when working with very long videos €“ this has been fixed

Upgrading from a previous version of Analyzer? You will want to manually change your €˜Web Service URL' to point to the new server to take advantages of the new speed. Because you've previously used the app, your current URL is saved in your preferences and will persist even when you upgrade. Simply change the URL the first time you Parameterize on 1.2, and it will be saved going forward. The new URL is: https://secure.facewaretech.com/1.0/

We're excited to hear your feedback on this new version. Feel free to contact us and let us know what you think. Thanks for using Faceware!

Faceware Backs Morpheus 2.0 Kickstarter Campaign

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Faceware Technologies is excited to announce we're an official sponsor of the CG Monks Morpheus Rig 2.0 Kickstarter Campaign. The campaign, which has already surpassed its financial goal of $20,000 is aimed at building on the resounding success of the Morpheus 1.0 rig, which according to CG Monks.com has over 115,000 unique views and/or downloads. FTI’s interest in Morpheus 2.0 is to support and encourage stronger asset building and especially artist-friendly character rigs. Faceware’s artist-friendly Retargeter facial motion capture software will perfectly complement the Morpheus 2.0 rig. Faceware will also be aiding in the development of the Morpheus 2.0 facial rig, based on its years of experience in facial rigging for over 50 AAA titles and 20 TV/VFX/Film projects.

The pledge shows Faceware’s continued support for the artist community combining well with their Faceware Education Outreach Program which allows schools and education institutions free and unlimited use of the Faceware software suite. Both Animation Mentor and CG Spectrum are co-sponsoring the campaign as well.

Josh Burton, co-founder of CG Monks and the Morpheus Rig, is quite excited for Faceware’s support and sponsorship of the program; Burton previously hosted a Faceware Webinar on character rigging. The Kickstarter campaign ends on November 7, 2012. To support the project, check out the page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cgmonks/morpheus-rig-v20.

Faceware Webinar Series: Faceware Head-Mounted Cameras

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Join FTI on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 2:00 PDT for the next installment in the Faceware Webinar Series. Our performance capture supervisor, Christopher Jones, will guide you through using the Faceware Headcam in a variety of scenarios.

Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Time: 2:00pm PDT

Description: Chris has supervised facial capture on over 30 AAA games, films, and commercials in dozens of sound stages, VO booths, and mocap facilities across the world. He designs, specs, budgets, installs, trains and operates facial video pipelines to integrate and synchronize with any other concurrent capture, whether that is body, ref, or audio.

For this session, he will go over building and adjusting the camera for any actor, recording options, using the Headcam in a VO booth and a mocap stage, and the differences in using an FTI Headcam vs. other Headcams or optical data. He will be taking questions during the presentation and will have a full Q&A session immediately following. Don’t miss it!

Register Here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/229363486

The video of the event will be on YouTube about a week after the webinar.

Faceware Webinar Series: Getting Started with Analyzer Come and join us for a FREE webinar on October 2, 2012

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Join Faceware Product Specialist, Brian Genna, as he walks through his facial tracking workflow and covers some of the tips and tricks that have enabled him to master Analyzer. With fast tracking comes fast facial animation. Using Brian's techniques you'll see how it's possible to produce top quality tracking data extremely quickly.

He'll be covering the basics of the application, the tracking workflow, as well as doing a QA at the end of the session to answer specific questions from the audience.

Brian Genna has been with Faceware for five years and has been an integral part of the facial animation productions on dozens of AAA video games, music videos, commercials, as well as multiple award-winning feature films. He's one of the leading forces behind the design of Analyzer.
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/515812854

Title: Getting Started with Analyzer
Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM €“ 3:30 PM PDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac-based attendees
Required: Mac OS X 10.5 or newer

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet