1st Place – DIMA FEDOTOV – Last Day of War
Prize package from Faceware Technologies:
For his 1st place win, Dima Fedotov will receive one license each of Analyzer 3.0 Studio Plus and Retargeter 5.0 Studio Plus.
(Either local or server licenses. Server licenses valued at $13,490. Local licenses valued at $8,990.)
2nd Place – ALEXI SHULGA – Autonomous
- Aleksei Shulga– director, modeling, shading, vfx, compositing
- Mihhail Kohtov -rig, animation, sfx and sound design
- Music by http://moderncrusader.net/
Prize Package from Faceware Technologies:
(Either local or server licenses. Server licenses valued at $4,490. Local licenses valued at $2,990.)
October 13, 2016 – Launching today on Playstation VR, Here They Lie is a VR experience that uses the mind-blowing power of Faceware Technologies. Watch the trailer below and get ready for a new reality!
It’s a great day when you get to give a SHOUT OUT to deserving colleagues. Today it’s for the MoCap master over at MoCap Vaults, Oliver Hollis-Leick, who is the featured artist in Cracked’s recent article, The Thankless Life Of MoCap Actors (Who Aren’t Andy Serkis)
We’ve had the pleasure of working with MoCap Vaults on many projects and they truly are dynamite in their field. Check out the article for yourself and see if you can imagine wearing that lycra with the same authority as Oliver! And while we’re talking wearables, is that a Faceware GoPro Headcam System and ProHD Wireless System being worn in many of the high profile mocap shoots mentioned in the article?
The Thankless Life Of MoCap Actors (Who Aren’t Andy Serkis)
By Cezary Jan Strusiewicz – October 05, 2016
Shockingly, there are people who perform motion capture roles besides Andy Serkis. They bring us the solemn, judgmental glares of our Master Chiefs, the high-flying antics of our Spider-Men, and the arrogant swagger of our virtual James Bonds. Oliver Hollis-Leick actually performed all three of those roles, and countless others. We sat down with him to ask a few questions, the first of which was “Are you sure you’re not being played by Andy Serkis right now?” After an awkward, disbelieving silence, we asked a few more, and learned that …
Intro from FTI – We’re thrilled to see this exciting film launch tomorrow. Faceware Technologies has been intimately involved with the creative endeavors on this production. From on-site expertise by our own SMEs, to hardware, to software, Faceware Technologies is proud to be the facial motion capture technology selected for use on this epic journey.
“We believe the best facial animation comes from the combination of cutting-edge technology and an intuitive artist-friendly workflow. By embracing artists’ passions and providing them with easy-to-use products, we have become the gold-standard for facial motion capture and animation tools,” shares Peter Busch – Faceware Tech VP, Business Development. “When the studio reached out to us, they already had the motion-capture technology pioneered by James Cameron’s Avatar lined up. What they needed was a solution for facial motion capture to seamlessly integrate. With our Creative Suite of products, we offered an end-to-end solution that worked at the speed of their production.”
Our congratulations to Le Vision Pictures and the creative team at Original Force on this monumental release!
Lionsgate to Release Chinese CGI Fantasy Film ‘L.O.R.D.’ in North America (Exclusive)
by Patrick Brzeski
Directed by Chinese hitmaker Guo Jingming, the Le Vision Pictures film stars Fan Bingbing and Kris Wu and is presented entirely in motion capture CG.
Lionsgate is importing some cutting-edge Chinese young adult fantasy to North America.
The studio will release 31-year-old Chinese filmmaker Guo Jingming’s fantasy feature L.O.R.D., starring Fan Bingbing, in cinemas across the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 30. The movie will open in China on the same day.
“Lionsgate appreciated the film’s potential for YA audiences around the world,” said a representative from Le Vision Pictures, the movie’s producer, which is handling distribution in Greater China. “They felt it fit in well with their track record of success with films in this genre, such as the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises.”
Lionsgate is understood to be a minority investor in the film and will also bring it out in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand on Sept. 29. The movie will also set for release in Singapore and Thailand on Oct. 13, followed by Myanmar on Nov. 4. Le Vision declined to share the number of screens on which L.O.R.D. would open in the various territories.
An acronym for “Legend of the Ravaging Dynasties,” L.O.R.D. is based on a best-selling series of YA novels written by Guo and released in 2010.
A writer-turned-director-turned-media mogul and celebrity, Guo is the creative force behind China’s Tiny Times film franchise, which chronicles the life of aspiring, highfashion-obsessed young women in Shanghai. Produced on small budgets and released in a rapid clip between 2013 and 2015, the four films in the Tiny Times franchise collectively earned $291 million in China alone. The commercial feat was all the more impressive given that Guo had no directing experience prior to working on the first movie in the series.
Along with Fan, the new film features a slew of China’s new young stars, such as Kris Wu, Yang Mi, Chen Xuedong and Wang Yuan.
“The foundation of this strategic partnership between Le Vision Pictures and Lionsgate is that we both want to help young Chinese producers and directors move forward into the global market, bringing the best original content to Generation Z (young people born after 1995),” said a rep for Le Vision.
L.O.R.D. also presents a technical first for the Chinese industry: although it features many of China’s most famous faces, the film was shot and produced entirely in CG using motion-capture technology pioneered by James Cameron’s Avatar.
The story is set in a world of mysterious sorcery that is split between four nations — Water, Wind, Earth and Fire. The story follows the adventures of young disciples of the seven top sorcerers who preside and fight evils forces within this imaginary realm.
Los Angeles – Sept 20, 2016 – Faceware Technologies, the leading innovator and most experienced provider of markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions, today announced that video game developer, Bungie, Inc., has used Faceware’s ProHD Headcam System, along with its Analyzer 3.0 and Retargeter 5.0 Studio Plus software packages, to enhance the facial expressions and emotions of Lord Saladin and the new Iron Lords in Destiny: Rise of Iron.
Destiny: Rise of Iron is a major expansion for Bungie‘s first-person shooter, Destiny. Releasing today for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One, Destiny: Rise of Iron features an all new cinematic story campaign set within The Plaguelands, a brand new location on Earth. Under the command of Lord Saladin, players will face a new faction of Fallen Devils, the Splicers, while unravelling the mystery of the Iron Lords. Rise of Iron features new weapons, armor, and gear, as well as a new cooperative three-player Strike, a new mode and maps for the Crucible competitive multiplayer, and an all new six-player cooperative Raid.
Destiny: Rise of Iron also brings new levels of photorealism to the game characters in the new story campaign and cutscenes. Faceware Technologies’ markerless motion capture system was previously used on Bungie’s Destiny. With this expansion, Bungie’s animation team upped the ante, using Faceware’s ProHD Headcam System to enhance the performance capture of their live actors. They then applied that new level of detail to the performance of the Iron Lords using Faceware’s Analyzer 3.0 Studio Plus and Retargeter 5.0 Studio Plus software packages. The result is a visually stunning set of characters that invest players ever more deeply in the world of Destiny.
We’ve worked closely with Bungie over the years and they never cease to strive for the very best. That commitment shows in the characters they’ve created for Destiny: Rise of Iron,” said Pete Busch, VP of Product Development at Faceware Technologies. “All of us at Faceware are honored that Bungie has chosen our products yet again to bring their game characters to life.”
Faceware’s software products identify the movement of an actor’s face from video and apply that movement to a computer-generated character. Together with its head-mounted and stationary cameras, Faceware’s technology is being used successfully in award-winning movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Walk, and top-grossing games like Grand Theft Auto III-V, NBA 2K10-2K16, Destiny, Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and DOOM.
For more information, visit www.facewaretech.com or contact email@example.com.
Information on Destiny: Rise of Iron can be found at Bungie’s official website: https://www.destinythegame.com/ca/en/rise-of-iron
About Faceware Technologies
Faceware Technologies Inc. (FTI), established in 2012 after years as part of leading facial tracking and augmented reality company Image Metrics, is dedicated to meeting the needs of professional animators in the video game, film, television, and commercial industries. The company’s Faceware Facial Motion Capture product line has been utilized in the production of hundreds of video game titles, feature films, music videos, commercials, television shows, 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. Faceware’s product consists of the Faceware GoPro and Pro HD Headcam and Tripod Capture Systems; Faceware Analyzer, which allows clients to analyze and process their own performance videos; Faceware Retargeter, an Autodesk plugin which allows users to create facial motion capture data at a much faster rate than traditional methods; and Faceware Live, the real-time facial capture and animation solution. www.facewaretech.com
Bungie was founded in 1991 with two goals: develop kick ass games that combine state-of-the-art technology with uncompromising art, captivating storytelling, and deep gameplay, and then to sell enough copies to fund our ongoing quest for World Domination. Over the past twenty-five years, Bungie created a bunch of fun games, including the Halo franchise, the Marathon Trilogy, and the first two Myth games. Our independent, employee-owned development studio is located in Bellevue, Washington, the base where we launched our most ambitious project to date: Destiny.
More information on Bungie can be found at www.bungie.net.
Industry Leading Motion Capture Firm, Animation Vertigo, Adds Powerhouse Faceware Tech To Growing Roster of Best-In-Class Vendors
LOS ANGELES – September 12, 2016 – Animation Vertigo, a U.S.-based outsource management company that provides high quality motion capture animation to entertainment industry leaders, is proud to announce its partnership with Faceware Technologies Inc., the leading innovator and most experienced provider of markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions. Faceware Tech joins a growing roster of Animation Vertigo’s hand-picked and vetted partners, further establishing the company’s stellar reputation as a leader in the motion capture industry with access to best-in-class partners and vendors.
“Faceware Tech is one of the most respected firms in the industry that has pioneered marker-less facial motion capture for games, films, commercials and movies,” said Marla Rausch, CEO of Animation Vertigo. “Through our strategic alignments, we are continuing to stay cutting edge in the industry and look forward to delivering unparalleled motion capture animation services to our clients with these partners by our side.”
Based out of Nevada, California and Texas, Faceware Tech is one of the leading facial motion capture solutions in the industry. The company’s facial motion capture software and hardware have been used in hundreds of video games, commercials, music videos, feature films and stage play productions..
“Our decision to work with Marla and her team at Animation Vertigo was a natural fit,” said Peter Busch, VP of business development for Faceware Tech. “We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline, and Animation Vertigo’s client roster is one of the best in the motion capture world. We look forward to leveraging this partnership and continuing to raise the bar for our clients.”
The motion capture industry is constantly evolving, and Animation Vertigo is at the forefront with new projects and innovations. To stay up to date with the latest on Animation Vertigo, please visit the company’s Facebook page or website.
About Animation Vertigo
Animation Vertigo is an outsource management company that provides high quality and reliable solutions for motion capture and animation needs. The company’s production center is located in Manila, Philippines, tapping into tremendous talent, resources and artists. Animation Vertigo has an unmatched reputation for delivering professional, experienced and timely motion capture solutions to its clients. Visit www.animationvertigo.com for more information.
About Faceware Technologies
Faceware Technologies Inc. (FTI), established in 2012 after years as part of leading facial tracking and augmented reality company Image Metrics, is dedicated to meeting the needs of professional animators in the video game, film, television, and commercial industries. The company’s Faceware Facial Motion Capture product line has been utilized in the production of hundreds of video game titles, feature films, music videos, commercials, television shows, 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. Faceware’s product consists of the Faceware GoPro and Pro HD Headcam and Tripod Capture Systems; Faceware Analyzer, which allows clients to analyze and process their own performance videos; Faceware Retargeter, an Autodesk plugin which allows users to create facial motion capture data at a much faster rate than traditional methods; and Faceware Live, the real-time facial capture and animation solution.
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XDS 2016 – Vancouver, Canada
Peter Busch (Faceware), Greg Wellwood (The Capture Lab), Marla Rausch (Animation Vertigo) & Sam Mynott (The Capture Lab): Tech Innovation Rapid Fire: EA & Faceware – Automating Facial AnimationThe talk will serve to celebrate and examine the collaboration between EA and Faceware Technologies in establishing a high-end facial animation pipeline through demonstrations of real-world examples. Discussion points will be on the identification of the pipeline and known production challenges, and the eventual migration of every facet involved in the pipeline including motion capture, performance capture, rigging, batch-automation, and the inclusion of one of their key third-party outsource studios, Animation Vertigo. The talk will illustrate how EA’s automation-wrapper increases throughput dramatically to meet the demands of their many ongoing productions.
We’re proud to be a sponsor of We Are Code: VR Hackathon together with companies like Oculus this Labor Day weekend!
Register now for the Dhat Stone Academy/Priority We Are Code VR Hackathon! We are enlisting students in Compton to compete with students in Oakland. They will engage in a computer coding competition to create the best mobile app, virtual reality games & website ideas that solve a social or economic problem in their communities.
Film actor, dancer and singer Ben Vereen will be on-site in Compton California on both competition days to entertain and give an inspirational talk.
There will be Virtual Reality technology workshops by NanoVR, and Animation development workshops from the famous Grammy Award winning Animator Leo Sullivan, producer of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
At the We Are Code Virtual Reality Hackathon students will also experience Exhibition Virtual Space, a futuristic glass structure with waterfalls, grassy hills, and lakes. Compton and Oakland students will communicate and interact through a full immersive Virtual Reality experience.
We are thrilled to announce that Oculus will be sponsoring the prizes for the first place winners with VR Gear and other cool stuff!
Winners will receive cash prizes, T-shirts, Google VR Cardboard, gadgets, free coding classes, and a chance to turn your winning app idea into a business!
- NASA Columbia Memorial Space Center – 12400 Columbia Way, Downey, CA 90242 – View Map
We’re fewer than three years into the latest console generation, but already another major graphical revolution is afoot as VR, mobile advancements and superpowered versions of the PS4 and Xbox One push fidelity forwards. Matthew Jarvis asks Epic, Unity, Crytek, Faceware and Geomerics what’s next?
Alongside Apple’s product range and the Sugababes line-up, computer graphics are one of the quickest-changing elements in modern culture. Games from even a few years ago can appear instantly dated after a new shader or lighting model is introduced, making it crucial for devs to be at the forefront of today’s visual technology.
Yet, as with all of development, taking full advantage of console, PC and mobile hardware comes at a cost – a price that continues to rise with the growing fidelity of in-game environments and latest methods being used to achieve them.
“Triple-A games with fantastic graphics are becoming more and more complex to develop and require increasingly larger and larger teams and longer development time,” observes Niklas Smedberg, technical director for platform partnerships at Unreal Engine firm Epic Games. “This means that it is more and more important to work efficiently and smartly in order to avoid having your team size or budget explode.
“Technologies that have stood out from the rest include new various anti-aliasing techniques like temporal AA, which has made a huge impact on visual quality.”
Unity’s Veselin Efremov, who directed the engine firm’s Adam tech demo, believes “the latest push is around adding layers of depth and evocative power to environments and virtual worlds”.
“There are things such as screen space reflections, and real-time globalillumination,” he says. “It can all be done with a relatively low memory footprint.
“Meanwhile, physically-based rendering is at its core a new approach to the lighting pipeline, simulating the natural way light and real-world materials interact. PBR shines when you’re pursuing realism.”
It is important to work efficiently to avoid having team size or budget explode.
Supporting the latest methods of mastering specific optical elements are new underlying APIs that are propelling the entire sector forward.
“The expanding performance budget of each platform means that every generation developers can build larger worlds with more geometry, richer textures and more advanced effects,” says Chris Porthouse, GM of lightingspecialist Geomerics. “The advent of thin APIs such as Metal and Vulkan are giving developers access to finer control of the performance potential of these devices.”
Although the inflating scale and ambitions of titles has led to a need for greater investment in graphical technology, Dario Sancho-Pradel, leadprogrammer at CryEngine outlet Crytek, highlights the advancements in making tools more accessible and easy to deploy.
“Recent technologies are helping character and environment artists to produce more complex and interesting assets in a shorter amount of time,” he says. “Some examples that come to mind are procedural material generation, multi-channel texturing and photogrammetry.”
Peter Busch, VP of business development at Faceware, concurs that “content creation tools are getting easier to use, less expensive, and now support multiple languages”.
“That means that more people will have access to the hardware and software needed to create good facial performances,” he says. “That, in turn, means facial animation, whether pre-rendered or rendered in real time, will appear in more indie games.”
SMALL BUT MIGHTY
For decades, it was a widespread belief that indie studios couldn’t hold a candle to the graphical might of triple-A powerhouses. The last few years have destroyed this myth, as the increasing power and falling price of development software have closed the gap, allowing devs including The Chinese Room and Frictional Games to produce outstandingly good-looking titles such as Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture and Soma.
“Development tools have advanced tremendously in the past several years,” says Efremov. “There’s really very little stopping a creator from bringing their vision to market; it takes less time and fewer resources than ever before.
“What really distinguishes big triple-A productions is content and an emphasis on realistic graphics. There are ways smaller studios can replicate triple-A quality, such as PBR-scanned texture set libraries, terrain creation tools, automated texturing tools and markerless motion capture solutions.”
Smedberg offers a reminder that a strong style can be as effective as pure graphical horsepower.
“Use something you feel comfortable with and lets you be most productive,” he advises. “Choose an art style that fits you best and where you can excel. All developers should take the time to use graphics debuggers and profilers. The more you can learn about the tools and your rendering, the better your game will look.”
Porthouse agrees that “workflow efficiency is everything to smaller studios”.
“Any tool that can decrease the time it takes to perform a particular process saves money and leaves developers free to improve other areas of the game,” he explains.
Sancho-Pradel says: “Small studios need to be particularly pragmatic. If they use a third-party engine, they should be aware of the strengths and pitfalls and design their game around them. Using techniques such as photogrammetry, procedural material generation and multi-channel texturing is affordable even in low-budget productions and can significantly increase the quality of the assets if the art direction of the game is aligned with such techniques.”
Each year the challenge of delivering visibly better graphics increases and workflow efficiency is the key to success.
As thread upon thread of ‘PC Master Race’ discussions attest, the trusty desktop has long been considered the flagbearer for bleeding-edge graphics, with the static hardware of consoles acting as a line in the sand beyond which visuals can only toe so far. This could all be set to change, as Xbox’s newly announced Project Scorpio and the PS4 Neo look primed to blur the lines between console generations, in line with the continually evolving nature of PC.
“As hardware manufacturers produce new platforms, development teams will happily eat up the extra performance budget to generate higher fidelity visuals,” Porthouse predicts. “Yet step changes in hardware do not come annually and for every release a franchise’s studio needs to demonstrate graphical improvements even when new hardware is not available.”
John Elliot (pictured), technical director of Unity’s Spotlight team, suggests: “For large studios, there is a great opportunity to stand out by pushing the new hardware to the maximum. For smaller studios, more power provides opportunities in different areas. Many will find creative ways to drive interesting and new visuals.”
Among the headline features of the Xbox Scorpio are high-dynamic range and the ability to put at 4K resolutions. With many titles yet to achieve 60 frames per second performance at 1080p on console, will these new display options even be of interest to devs?
“This was the only option they had to move forward,” Smedberg proposes. “HDR requires new display hardware and 4K requires more performance. While more performance is always better, I am concerned about fragmentation – that consoles will end up like PCs, with tons of different performance and feature levels that developers have to figure out how to make our games play nice with.”
Elliot backs the introduction of HDR and 4K as “interesting features that absolutely should matter to devs”.
“While the jump to 4K is much less than that from SD to HD TV, it is still something that gamers will soon come to expect,” he forecasts. “You just have to look at how quickly 1080p became the standard for TV to know that there will be huge demand for 4K content.
“HDR really does provide an amazing boost in visual quality, but it is much harder to visualise what this means until you have actually seen it. I’m sure it will quickly become a standard requirement and, as with any new hardware, there is a great opportunity for the first games to support it to get noticed in the marketplace.”
THE REALITY OF VR
As well as HDR and 4K, a major turning point with Scorpio and Neo is improved performance for VR hardware. With good reason: the nascent medium is reliant on flawless performance. It’s a challenge that remains so even with the almost limitless potential of PC, as devs work to balance realistic visuals with hitch-free delivery.
“Photorealism is not essential for VR, but if one of your goals is to immerse the player in a highly realistic world, then the game will have to use a highly optimised rendering pipeline in order to hit the framerate required by the VR platform while rendering in stereo high-detailed models, thousands of draw calls and complex shaders,” observes Sancho-Pradel. “DirectX12 and Vulkan are designed to give engineers much more control in terms of memory, command submission and multi-GPU support, which can translate into more optimal rendering pipelines.”
Busch echoes that absorbing players into a VR experience is vital for devs – and visuals play a major role in doing so.
“Without believable, immersive experiences, games will face an uphill battle in VR,” he cautions. “In a fully immersive environment people are ‘in’ the content – which only means that the details, framerate and level of engagement are a daunting task. Mix that with a quagmire of VR hardware, and it is a difficult landscape to develop in – to say the least.”
Smedberg drives home the point that performance is virtual reality’s unavoidable challenge, and offers technical advice to devs looking to perfect their game’s smoothness.
“The performance requirement for VR is critically important,” he confirms. “If you miss your target framerate here and there in a regular game, you might have a few unhappy customers. If you miss your target framerate in a VR game, your customers may not just stop playing your game – they may stop playing VR altogether.
“With VR you have to design your game graphics with a lower visual fidelity in mind, because you have twice as many pixels to fill and need to have it all rendered in less than 10ms – instead of 16 or 33ms. Many tried and proven rendering techniques won’t work, like sprite particles, because in VR you can see that they’re just flat squares.
“Better technology can help; faster and more efficient rendering APIs could help your game run much faster on the CPU – you can make more drawcalls and spend more time on AI or physics. GPUs could take advantage of similarities in the shader between the two eye views and run faster on the GPU.”
There is a great opportunity for the first games to support HDR to get noticed in the marketplace.
With a new semi-generation of consoles around the corner, virtual reality continuing to redefine long-established development philosophy and technology always set to take the next major graphical step, what can developers expect to rock the visual world?
“Lighting continues to be one of the most effective, emotive and evocative tools in an artist’s bench,” suggests Efremov. “Real-time global illumination,physically-based materials, lights, and cameras/lenses will all carry us much closer to worlds and environments that truly replicate our own.
“Machine learning is such an exciting new area of research, already put to practical use in so many other industries. The possibilities in the future are countless; simulations for populating and simulating game worlds based on photographic reference, expanding animation performances, creating 3D assets, altering the visual style of a game, new levels of AI and so on.”
Porthouse echoes Efremov’s sentiment that lighting enhancements will be one of the key drivers helping to refine visual fidelity.
“As teams perfect the graphics of their increasingly large world games, lighting and weather effects will play an important part,” he says. “In two to three years’ time all exterior environments will be lit with a real-time day/night cycle with believable and consistent bounced lighting, and gamers will be able to seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor scenes. Each year the challenge of delivering visibly better graphics increases and workflow efficiency is the key to success.”
Smedberg (pictured) highlights hardware evolution as a strong foundation for devs to expand their graphical ambitions.
“We may see PC graphics hardware that can run at double speed, using 16-bit floating point instead of 32-bit floating point,” he forecasts. “This doubling of performance comes in addition to any other performance increases, like more cores and higher clock frequencies.
“On the rendering technology side, I’m looking forward to using some forms of ray-tracing – not traditional full-scene ray-tracing, but as a partial tool for some specific rendering features.”
Smedberg concludes by reiterating that while pure power is sure to drive visual punch onwards, its benefits are voided without strong design to match.
“Graphics technology is so capable and powerful today that developers have an incredible freedom to choose whatever art style they like,” he enthuses. “Creators can and should choose a style that they feel passionate about and that fits their gameplay and budget goals.”