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Awe-Inspiring: Epic’s Motion-Capture Animation Technology

March 23, 2023
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Gathering at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts in San Fransisco to witness the stunning State of Arena demonstration from Epic, everyone was was in awe of the incredible new MetaHuman Facial Animation Tool. With the power of machine-learning, this revolutionary new system would generate immaculately, realistic facial expressions from the mere input of a simplified video. This incredible ‘time-saving’ tool had the potential to help creators make highly complex animations from ease and with speed, something that had taken days or weeks before.

In an effort to show just how incredible this tool was going to be, Epic enlisted the help of Ninja Theory Performance Artist Melina Juergens, known for her role of Senua in the 2017 game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. With the use of her talent and a stock iPhone mounted on a tripod in front of her, they had all they needed. In less than sixty seconds, the video footage was processed in a high-end AMD machine, creating a lifelike animation that had every tiny detail. Mouth quivers, side glances, even tongue movements were all detected, thanks to the use of an ‘audio to tongue’ algorithm featured in the tool.

To take things even further, the motion was then applied to a MetaHuman – a highly stylized cartoon character. All the motions, words, and facial expressions of the animation was almost identical to the original video in the input with realism that was unparalleled. To finish off the presentation, the trailer for the upcoming game Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 was debuted. Even more astounding, Melina Juergens’ full-body motion captured performance was processed without any polishing or editing and took a MetaHuman animator less than sixty minutes to produce.

This groundbreaking new machine-learning tool shows us that facial animation is about to enter a brand-new era. With only a simple video protocol, creators can make detailed and highly interactive 3D animations within minutes. It’s a game-changer for the industry and opens up new possibilities. Do you have an opinion on this incredible achievement? Let us know in the comments below!

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