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Faceware Technologies

ANIMATION VERTIGO PARTNERS WITH WORLD-RENOWNED FACEWARE TECHNOLOGIES INC.

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Industry Leading Motion Capture Firm, Animation Vertigo, Adds Powerhouse Faceware Tech To Growing Roster of Best-In-Class Vendors

LOS ANGELES – September 12, 2016Animation 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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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).

CGSocity

NBA 2K16 SCORES A SLAM DUNK WITH FACEWARE

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CG_SocietyThe success of sports games relies on engendering a sense of reality – not just in the ebb and flow of the sport itself, but in selling the player on the fantasy that they really are in the sneakers of their favourite players.

To capture that sense of authenticity in its famous basketball series, 2K relies on the fidelity of Faceware…

Video game facial animation has come a long way, from the first twitch of Mario’s moustache to the near-Hollywood production levels of titles like Grand Theft Auto and Halo. Today’s characters can emote with a visual fidelity that’s long since leapt over the Uncanny Valley and entered the realms of true-to-life realism.
But dramatic impact isn’t just the domain of narrative-led action titles. A sense of believability is also key to the next generation of sports games – games like NBA 2K16. Not only must these games accurately reflect the strategy and physicality of the sport that they emulate, but also the intensity, the passion, and the all-out drama experienced by the players.
 
That’s where Faceware Technologies comes in.
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“I’ve been working on the NBA series for six years now, and our end goal hasn’t changed in that time – we just want to get better and better at selling the emotion of basketball,” begins Anthony Tominia, performance capture stage manager at 2K. “We’re working on 2K16 now, and we want everything to be as realistic as it possibly can be. That means everything from mo-capping the basketball itself to realistically representing the real-life players in digital form.
“This year we’re trying to get more expressive emotions; better-looking lip sync in our story mode; distinct reactions that mirror what happens on the actual court – Faceware Technologies is an important contributing factor to all of that.”

Capturing every wrinkle

2K has used Faceware’s hardware and software solutions for it facial performance capture for many years, and utilised them once again to bring NBA 2K16 to life. For Tominia, the technology was nothing less than integral in capturing the raw kinetic energy of the sport.
 
“Basketball is a story, and emotion helps you to tell that story,” he says on his team’s approach to NBA 2K16. “Those physical facial expressions add to the drama of the game. The player might get irritated if they miss a shot, or reach for the skies when they make that last-minute alley-oop, and seeing that makes your actions all the more engaging. We really wanted to delve deeper into those little narrative movements this time and sell what’s happening on an emotional level.
“So, in 2K16 we’ve really exploited our rigs to the extreme so we can match every nuance of the person,” continues Tominia. “We’re making sure that not only does each digital character look like their real-life counterpart, but they also show the signature emotion of that person. When you look at Shaquille O’Neal this year it’s not just a representation of him – it has every tic, every subtle nuance that makes his face uniquely ‘O’Neal’. It’s not just a celebratory face, it’s Shaq’s celebratory face, based off his real-life performance. And that’s thanks to Faceware.”
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Custom software

Faceware’s technology was used to capture the facial performance of over 30 different NBA athletes, including O’Neal. Actions both on the court and off were recorded, with players undergoing full performance capture for their in-game animations and also recording dialogue for the My Career story mode. Once this acquisition was complete, it was time to transplant the performances into the game.
 
To make the next steps of the process more streamlined, the 2K team dived into the Analyzer and Retargeter scriptability.
 
“The great thing about Faceware’s script interface is that it’s really simple, so we can easily develop scripts that make our job easier,” explains Tominia. “In this case, we wrote a bunch of Python scripts that allowed us to automatically solve everything that little bit faster. There were over 232 lines spoken by each of the 30 players, and we found that we could easily batch, through Analyzer, 232 lines per player without having to even touch the data.
“We did the same thing with Retargeter,” he continues. “In our pipeline the Python script does the retargeting, creates play blasts and saves those files immediately for review. The process doesn’t have to be manned, so we could capture all day, then leave the system to analyze and retarget overnight. We would then just come in the next morning and quickly identify which files needed the most touch up and pass those on to the team. The speed could not be better.”

Speed and power to rival LeBron

The ease of use of the software, along with the custom development done to streamline the pipeline, meant that after analyzing and retargeting the data, clean-up time on NBA 2K16’s animation was down to three-four minutes per second of data.
 
“At the end of the day, this kind of work will always rely on the touch of a human animator to flesh the capture out – that’s just a matter of fact,” begins Tominia. “However, in our line of work we want to get as far into the pipeline as we can before a human has to touch that data,  and Faceware delivers excellent results in that regard. Four minutes per second wasn’t really that much time, because there was nobody touching the file until that point, and that’s a huge advantage in a production such as this.”
Combined with the raw power of Faceware’s solutions, this speed makes for a particularly lethal combination. “Last year for NBA 2K15, we recorded 120 hours of facial animation – that’s massive amounts of data,” says Tominia. “In comparison, most feature films are two hours long and have a maximum of three CG characters on screen at any time, so that’s just six hours. But we did 20 times that in the space of a year.
 
“When you put that into context, it’s insane,” he marvels. “A keyframe animator might be able to give you five minutes of animation a day, and that’s pushing it. That would take one animator nearly four years of nonstop work to achieve, and if you’re paying them $30 an hour it’s going to total up to an incredible amount. Really, there’s no number of animators on the planet that could be assembled to put out 120 hours of animation in a year. But Faceware’s tech enables that, so you’re making an incredible amount of savings, both in time and money. Faceware really is just so good at what it does – in my experience, its solutions are the fastest that are out there.”
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Working as one

When you’re depending on a solution such as Faceware to complete work of such high quality, you need to ensure that you have the support in place to keep things running smoothly. With this in mind, 2K has developed a strong and lasting relationship with Faceware, one that keeps the development of the series on schedule even during challenging times.
 
“If you have any questions or run into any problems with anything, from scripting to hardware, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling Faceware – they’ll have your answers straight away,” beams Tominia. “A great example of this was when we were shooting scenes with multiple helmet characters, and the director decided that we needed four more within two days. We’re up here in Novato and Faceware is down in LA, but we picked up the phone, told them what we needed, and they got the extra cameras built and sent here in time.”
Faceware also went as far as to build a custom camera for the NBA 2K team – one that could capture data at the higher, non-standard framerate the team utilises for the game’s production.
 
“When it comes to the amount of help Faceware extends, it really feels like you’re dealing with a small company, but that’s not the case,” says Tominia. “I know Faceware deals with a lot of people and works with many different companies, but you really wouldn’t know. It’s impressive that they can make you feel like you’re their only customer, even with all that other stuff they have going on.”

The next level

The end result of this collaborative relationship is some of the most convincing facial animation in modern sports games. Every wince, every cheer, every determined glance towards the net has been captured in absolute detail, and all of it, no matter how subtle, feeds into that all-important sense of raw emotion.
“Faceware really has given us limitless volume in our facial animation,” concludes Tominia. “What we’ve achieved with NBA 2K couldn’t have been done without its solutions.”