Nov 19, 2013

"Synchronicity" - A Taste Of Next Gen Facial Animation

Uncanny valley has been a term that's been brought up time and time again when people in the CG realm have attempted to bring believable, photorealistic characters to life in feature film and movies. Most attempts have typically walked a fine line between a character being believable or just creepy and lifeless. Quantic Dreams have probably had the most success in this realm with titles like Heavy Rain and most recently Beyond Two Souls, whereas directors like Robert Zemeckis have failed time and time again with their mocap heavy CG films that simply lacked that 'spark' which made their characters all fall into that creepy, uncanny valley.

I really think It's all about the eye movement. If there's one thing that people sometimes forget is how expressive eyes can be, constantly darting around, an open book to the mental state of a character. Synchronicity is a next gen test by Side, 3Latereal and CubicMotion using a new type of head rig for capturing performances from an actor (Lydia Leonard in this one) working on the latest in game engines. While it's a solid performance and very impressive, pay attention to how the eyes work and think about how yours shift around during a casual conversation. It might be a technological hurdle, but I feel that once somebody really dedicates some time to capturing eye movement in a performance the medium will improve dramatically in it's believability. Just my two cents.

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