Perfecting the Pipeline
In the early days of the Alchemy pipeline, before Faceware Live was introduced and implemented, Divers says that the lack of facial capture was an obvious deficiency.
“All of our characters had that dead, canned sort of face, because live facial—we couldn’t get it, and nobody was doing it at the time. That’s when we found out about Faceware, and it worked quite easily with them. They released the Live server, and we got on really early with that,” says Divers. “Using software like Faceware, we are able to really stretch the limits of what facial capture can be used for.”
“The software keeps getting better, and better, and better. The quality of the face animation we’re getting out of it now live on stage is fantastic,” he adds. “We’ve had a few companies that are looking to get completely away from post-production, and go straight to short-form YouTube content, right from the motion capture stage.”
Dr. Jordan Beth Vincent, research fellow at Deakin Motion.Lab, affirms that “high-quality work is expensive,” but that Faceware technology and their pipeline allows clients to reach a high bar of quality without investing in extensive post-production or clean-up, if they choose. “The benefits to companies, if we can skip post-production, are huge,” adds Divers. “That lowers the costs.“
Deakin streams data from Faceware Live and their OptiTrack optical motion capture setup into the Unity game engine, which can display the results in real-time right there on the stage. They’ve found Faceware Live’s markerless facial capture technology to be incredibly easy to use, and noted that it takes far less setup time compared to competing options. That is especially handy during a long, busy shoot, or when they’re working with new talent.
“A lot of other software now, you have to not only set up an individual person, but have to do a whole session setup for the specific character you want to retarget, as well,” explains Divers. “We don’t always have the option to do prep work before the shoot day. In that case, Faceware is amazing. We put a facecam on somebody, and straight away, it calibrates to their face.”