Computer Graphics World Selects Faceware to SIGGRAPH “Best of Show” List

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Computer Graphics World Selects Faceware to SIGGRAPH “Best of Show” List

The excitement and hustle and bustle of SIGGRAPH 2016 is now behind us. After taking a bit of time to review all the information collected from the show, the staff is ready to name the winners of the  CGW  Silver Edge Awards, given to companies whose products and vision have the potential to greatly impact the industry.

This year, after much consideration, the following companies and their respective technologies have earned the designation of best of show at the 43rd annual SIGGRAPH conference and exhibition:

AMD’s Radeon Pro WX Series: Professional graphics cards that are optimized for open-source software and tuned for the demands of modern content creation. Also, AMD’s Radeon Pro SSG: A transformative solution that will offer greater memory capacity for real-time postproduction.

Autodesk’s Maya 2017: Packed with many new features, including the Arnold renderer which was recently acquired by Autodesk, as well as new tools for animators, updates to the motion graphics toolset, and more.

Faceware’s Faceware Interactive technology: This new interactive division is focusing on hardware and software that will enable characters to interact with people in real time (ideal for controlling characters in VR).

Maxon’s Cinema 4D R18: A big new release featuring enhancements to the MoGraph toolset, including the new Voronoi fracture system, object tracking within the motion tracker, and more.

Meta Company’s Meta 2: Augmented-reality headset that may give Microsoft’s HoloLens a run for its money.

Nvidia’s Quadro P6000: A VR graphics card said to be the fastest pro card available, harnessing 3,840 Cuda cores. Kudos also for making Mental Ray available directly from Nvidia, running on the GPU. And, for its SDK updates, particularly VRWorks 360 SDK.

Pixar’s RenderMan 21: Touted as the biggest RenderMan release in years, V21 gives users access to some of the same technology used on the studio’s latest feature film, including access to shaders and light types. Also, Pixar announced the open-source release of Universal Scene Description (USD), technology used for the interchange of complex 3D graphics data through various DCC tools.

The Foundry’s Cara VR: A VR plug-in toolset for Nuke. Also, the company should be applauded for shipping Katana to Windows as well as Linux.

WorldViz’s VizConnect: For enabling multi-platform use of VR across multiple systems , including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Special recognition: While not all of the game engine companies had a presence on the show floor, three in particular deserve special recognition for the work to their engines in advancing real-time graphics and interactivity: Epic Games, Unity Technologies, and Crytek. 

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3D Animation Workshop Offered by CGSociety

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Our friends over at CGSociety are offering an amazing animation course we wanted to share:

Character Facial Rigging for Production

Course Instructor – Wade Ryer

Wade Ryer has over 10 years of experience in animated feature films. His credits include How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rise of The Guardians, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tale of Desperaux and The Ant Bully. He has worked for such studios as DreamWorks Animation, Method Studios, Framestore, Electronic Arts, DNA Productions and ReelFX Creative Studios.

Course Overview

Learn how to rig character faces and bring them to life with Wade Ryer. Wade has over 10 years of experience in animated feature films such as; How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rise of The Guardians, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tale of Desperaux and The Ant Bully. He has worked for such studios as DreamWorks Animation, Method Studios, Framestore, Electronic Arts, DNA Productions and ReelFX Creative Studios.

Upon completion of this 8 week CGWorkshop, you will have a full understanding of how to create a functional, animator friendly, character face rig ready for their close up on the big screen!  Wade will give you guidance along the way, industry level tips and tricks, not to mention, personal feedback on your character’s facial rig.

CGSociety Animation Course

Note: The format of this class will be Forum replies for Assignments and Forum replies for student Q&As.

Faceware Technologies Launches Faceware Interactive Division

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New division, Faceware Interactive, creates facial mocap technologies that enable virtual humans and characters to interact with people in real time.

Faceware InteractiveLos Angeles, CA – July 20, 2016 – Faceware Technologies, the leading innovator and most experienced provider of markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions, today announced FACEWARE INTERACTIVE. The new division is focused on the development of software and hardware that can be used in the creation of digital characters with whom real people can interact. Faceware will be showcasing some of its early work in this area at SIGGRAPH 2016, Booth 322.

Faceware’s software technology identifies the movement of an actor’s face from video and applies that movement to a computer-generated character. Together with its head-mounted and stationary cameras, Faceware’s technology is 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.

Now imagine those characters interacting with people in real time, or someone acting “through” virtual humans or avatars in real time, like virtual puppeteers. The use cases for this are numerous, and include:

  • Live performances that incorporate digital characters. Digital characters can be “puppeted” in real time, allowing interaction with live audiences and people.
  • Person-driven avatars in VR and AR. Users can stream their own personas into digital and virtual worlds—perfect for training applications as well as interactive chat functionality.
  • Digital characters interacting in real-time on kiosk screens in theme parks and shopping malls.  
  • Animated content that can be created instantly anywhere. Believability of the characters will be driven by the live and interactive nature of the performances, e.g. kids can meet and talk to Elsa from Frozen or have a conversation with Bart Simpson.
Faceware technology is enabling Grace VR

Faceware technology is enabling Grace, a CG virtual reality music experience that combines bleeding edge rendering in Unreal, with full performance capture and mind-blowing 3D spatial audio.

Faceware, and its sister company Image Metrics, have been developing technologies that enable just those types of experiences. The first of these efforts can be seen in Image Metrics’ L’Oreal’s MakeUp Genius app and Nissan’s DieHardFan app, the panel at RTX Australia (which let fans interact with characters Yang and Ruby from the animated web series RWBY in real time), and in the VR games Paranormal Activity from VRWerx, Grace from MacInnes Scott and Here They Lie VR from Sony.

In order to focus more effort in this growing area, Faceware formed this new division in the company and is investing in research and development of both software and hardware to further enable interactive experiences in the public and professional space.

“By now, we’re all familiar with watching digital characters in movies and games. To us, interacting with and through those characters so people can connect on a deeper level is the logical next step,” said Peter Busch, vice president of business development at Faceware Technologies. “We have much of the underlying technology in place and early efforts point to a promising future full of growth. While we can’t share product information yet, we’ll have some exciting news to share in the near future.”

See Faceware Interactive at SIGGRAPH 2016To find out more about Faceware’s technology and how it can be used to create live, interactive content, visit Faceware at SIGGRAPH 2016 (Booth 322), go to www.facewaretech.com or contact sales@facewaretech.com.

 

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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.

 

© 2016. Faceware Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. “Faceware” is a registered trademark of Faceware Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s).

See Kit Harington Filming ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’

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It’s always exciting to see our hardware on these amazing actors! We’re counting the days till we get to play the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare by our friends over at Infinity Ward.

Kit Harington in ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’

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Published by Madeline Boardman • @ml_boardman

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington is eyeing a new game: The British actor will appear in the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Harington will take a villainous turn in the latest installment from the video game behemoth, though much of his role is still being kept under wraps. See photos of Harington working on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in London, ahead.

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Image Credit: Ian Gavin/Getty Images for Activision

 

We’ll Be At The Motion Capture Summit UK

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Motion Capture Summit UK is heralded at “the most exciting event in mocap”

Engage with industry leaders at Motion Capture Summit UKThe Motion Capture Summit UK is June 25-26, 2016 and will be held at Centroid Studios in London. We’ll be at this exciting event demoing Faceware’s latest headcams and software that have been used in such recent AAA titles as Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, XCOM2, EA Sports UFC 2, DOOM, and more.

We'll be working in a professional motion capture stage at Motion Capture Summit UKThis two day event will unite technology and drama for an intensive learning experience for actors, directors, animators and technicians. Attendees will be working in a professional motion capture stage, and will be taught by a group of industry veterans with specialization in all areas of mocap.

Our colleagues at The Mocap Vaults have an incredible line-up of tutors  from various disciplines within the industry for this symposium. Here are just a few of the industry leaders who will be instructing and interacting at the Summit:

  • Simon Kay –  Motion Capture Supervisor with Oscar winning VFX company Double Negative
  • John Dower – co-founder Mocap Vaults –  and a Director with over twenty years experience in Film, Television and Video Games
  • Gareth Taylor – professional freelance actor, movement director and teacher

Whether you want to work in front of the cameras or behind them, this gathering of the greatest minds in the business will surely be momentus weekend of training and development!

To give you an idea of what’s coming, check out this scene from The Motion Capture Summit USA – Performed, directed and crewed by Summit students – June 2015.

What’s behind The Motion Capture Summit UK?

The Motion Capture Summit UKWhat is the impetus for this international Summit of mocap movers and shakers? According to the rockstars at The Mocap Vaults, it’s to create a new wave of mocap superstars that are trained, prepped and ready for the job. With instructors from various fields of mocap sharing knowledge and precious advice, attendees will share in a new, higher level of performance capture than ever before.

We’ve heard there are still a few openings to attend the The Motion Capture Summit UK as an animator, director or technician – or as an observer, but space is very limited due to the unique immersion activities.

We’ll see you in the UK!

 

Analyzer 3.1 Released

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This minor release of Analyzer includes around two dozen fixes and improvements that resolve most of the initial issues users are seeing with Analyzer 3.0. If you were having intermittent issues Parameterizing then this new build should fix that for you. Release notes are listed below.

This update can be downloaded from our website in the ‘Downloads‘ section if you have a current Faceware Subscription. As always, if you have questions or need any assistance please email us at support@facewaretech.com.

3.1 Release Notes:

  • Improved and fixed several issues that were causing some users to not be able to Parameterize
  • Fixed an issue where you sometimes couldn’t create a new Job from an Image Sequence
  • Fixed an issue with Trimming that was occurring in certain languages
  • Fixed an issue where the Start and End time were not displaying properly with Image Sequences
  • Fixed an issue where the Height and Width of the image was not being saved properly when rotating your input video
  • Fixed an issue where the wrong error string was displaying if your .FWT file already existed when creating a new Job
  • Fixed an issue where AnalyzerBatch was not checking for an existing FWT folder before creating a new Job
  • Fixed an issue where Trimming in AnalyzerBatch was sometimes failing using drop-frame time-code
  • Fixed an issue where AnalyzerBatch would sometimes crash after ExportLandmarkPositions finished
  • Fixed an issue where the End time in Trimming was not displaying properly
  • Fixed an issue where NewJob in AnalyzerBatch was not displaying the correct exit code
  • Trimming in New Job has been optimized to work more quickly
  • Start and End time in Trimming will now update properly when selecting a new input video
  • Optimized the CountValidFrame command in AnalyzerBatch
  • Parameterization in AnalyzerBatch will now initialize the Web Service URL before attempting to contact the server
  • Fixed an issue where the CountValidFrame command in AnalyzerBatch was not working properly with a list of videos
  • Fixed a crash when specifying a directory path instead of a file path for the FWT parameter in AnalyzerBatch NewJob
  • Fixed an issue where AnalyzerBatch NewJob was not reporting the correct error when using an unsupported video codec

July Cover Revealed – Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

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Congratulations to our talented friends over at Infinity Ward. Can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

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Author – Daniel Tack

With its annual installments, the Call of Duty franchise is constantly tackling the challenge of reinventing itself while retaining the strong elements that put it on the first-person shooter map. In Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Infinity Ward preserves the strong ground combat elements from past games while also bringing bold new changes to bear by taking the battle into space.

We recently spent several days at Infinity Ward, taking an in-depth look at features, mechanics, weapons, vehicles, and more. Our 12-page cover story examines how this upcoming Call of Duty title makes some big changes to the standard campaign formula, all within a framework that keeps the longtime fans of the franchise in mind. Players take the role of Lt. Reyes as he assumes a position of command to take on the threat of the Settlement Defense Force, a merciless opponent bent on galactic domination.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is releasing on November 4 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The image below is the full cover, front and back.

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Our coverage trailer and digital edition featuring much more information on the game will be available on June 13.

In addition to all the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare info, we have an interview with Warcraft director Duncan Jones, a fresh look at Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, new details on Persona 5, and an interview with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot about the big year ahead. There are also some cool things in store that we can’t talk about… yet.

Print subscribers can watch for their issue to arrive in the next week or two, but you can read the full digital issue on June 13 on PC/MaciPadAndroid, and Google Play. You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on NookKindle, and Zinio starting on June 13. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here, or to create a new subscription to the digital edition, click here.

Our exclusive coverage on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will continue all throughout June, so keep checking the hub for deep dives into the weapons, characters, vehicles, and interviews as we journey to the stars with Infinity Ward’s new take on the longstanding series.

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Faceware Shares Five Predictions on the Future of Facial Animation

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GBR_logoPeter Busch, Vice President of Business Development at Faceware, an industry leader in facial animation and mocap, shares Faceware’s vision of the future for this important aspect of content creation with GBR.

In Peter’s own words, “Facial animation has advanced significantly in the past several years, and it’s gearing up to advance even more in the next several. Here are five ways we expect that to happen”:

1) Details, details – Characters in today’s games are already pushing the realism envelope when it comes to facial performances; but that will only increase with time. Computing power keeps going up, driving up the level of detail that can be rendered in real-time in a scene, both on mobile devices and in PC and console games. Look for more realistic facial movement and in particular, eye movement, in tomorrow’s games.

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2) Not just for games and film – 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. That, in turn, means facial animation, whether pre-rendered or rendered in real time, will appear in more indie games and expand globally beyond games and films into live shows, theme parks attractions and more.

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3) Replace your face – You saw it done in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fast and Furious 7 and in The Walk. Facial replacement is a thing. It can turn young people old, older people young, and famous people into the craziest stunt people ever. In other words, it opens up a world of possibilities for actors. Given the lowering barrier of entry, these techniques are now expanding to burgeoning markets, like India and China, enabling those filmmakers to take on far more ambitious projects, like L.O.R.D and Ek Tha Tiger, where most of the scenes incorporated facial replacement.

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4) Game engines get in the game – Game artists and animators can spend days creating amazing looking faces, but in the past, most of that detail would fall apart when it got to the game engine. Game engines just weren’t capable of supporting many of the details and techniques needed for realistic facial performances. That is changing. Unreal Engine 4 just released a new facial module to help standardize facial rigging. Look for this sort of support to become the norm, not the exception.

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5) Interactivity – It’s one thing to watch an animated character in a game. Is quite another to interact with one. Today, we’re able to interact with characters animated in real time via live performances or kiosks at theme parks, as RoosterTeeth recently did in Australia. It’s rudimentary, but it’s effective. Tomorrow, we’ll be able to interact with player-driven characters or AI-driven avatars, in game, in real time. Imagine saying something to a character in a game and having that character respond to you as they would in real life. This will change the face of games. We’ve been working toward this future for some time and will have more exciting things to announce shortly.

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GBR Analyst’s view:

As facial animation tools and correlated AI continue to mature, we should see more realistic and engaging animated characters appearing in AR and VR games/applications as well. One can envision possibilities for virtual team mates in VR games, human-like helpdesk “bots” that more or less pop up in AR apps and other characters as Peter alludes to above, further driving the state of the art for facial animation, particularly for real time rendering. Game engine developers, take note.

About Faceware Technologies:

Sherman Oaks, Austin and Nevada-based Faceware Technologies Inc. (FTI), which spun off from leading facial tracking and augmented reality company 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 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.

PR Contact Information:

Neology Marketing Communications | Eric Schumacher
erics@neologyconcepts.com | 310.403.8456
www.neologyconcepts.com

DOOM: Recreating the Legend

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Without a doubt, the iconic horror first-person shooter DOOM forever changed video games when it first launched over 20 years ago. “DOOM is a Deathmatch, an attitude, an expression,” says DOOM Senior Producer Sean Bean. “It’s rock-n-roll and sending demons straight back to Hell with a double-barrel shotgun with blood on your face.”

Facial Animation for the Speed of Production

When the time came to reboot the iconic game and take cutscenes to the next level, CounterPunch Studios brought in Faceware’s Analyzer and Retargeter software. Andrew Egiziano, owner of CounterPunch Studios has a deep relationship with the tools, “the CounterPunch team has been using the tools alongside the developers for years…The software that Faceware produces allows our company to achieve higher quality animation at unprecedented turnarounds. This allows us to create high volume quantities of quality animation in very short timelines.”

Animators can then focus on creativity and bringing out the best performance possible. Analyzer tracks points on a performance capture actor’s face and sends the data to Retargeter to apply that data onto a CG character in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take. “The software did the heavy lifting with our artists’ direction. This gave our artists more time to focus on the details and fine-tune the areas that take the animation to the next level,” Egiziano explains.

“Analyzer does a great job at capturing the essence of the performance – the process allows us to quickly choose extreme facial shapes in order to train the software in capturing the most out of the performance. We can really capture the necessary subtleties of the performance… Once the data is converted to use with Retargeter, it creates and constructs an animation based on these poses – this saves time and allows the artist to focus on creativity and personality of the character,” Egiziano continues.

The CounterPunch team delivers an amped experience for DOOM packed with creativity, personality and action that makes the game better than ever. Check out the trailer…if you dare!

Next Level Gaming: HoloLens Fragments

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The newest buzzword in tech isn’t VR and AR – it’s MR.

What is MR?

Mixed reality is the merging of reality with virtual but realistic objects that would not otherwise be in that space. One of the major hardware players in mixed reality is Microsoft’s HoloLens and one of the premiere experiences for the HoloLens is Fragments.

Fragments is a crime mystery for HoloLens that features life-size interactive holograms and is one of the select few apps to ship in the HoloLens Developer Edition. Jasper Brekelmans, owner of Brekel 3D, explains, “it’s truly mind blowing – and I’ve seen a lot of VR already – that virtual things pop up in your living room and are intelligently placed around/on and behind your furniture and walls. Makes it stick in your brain in a very special way.” Breckelmans continues, “the facial capture doesn’t really shine with relatively low detailed real-time characters on a mobile device but the experience is one hell of a special ride!”

Stay tuned for the consumer release of HoloLens and check out the trailer for Fragments!