A new report courtesy of Edge, who nabbed an exclusive peek at Remedy's new facial animation tech, suggests that the developer responsible for Max Payne and Alan Wake is working on new animation technology, hoping to best that featured in Rockstar's L.A. Noire.
'L.A. Noire has set a bar for facial animation,' said Remedy's CEO Matthias Myllyrinne. Raising one hand, then placing his other significantly higher, he added: 'But [Rockstar’s game] is here, we’re aiming to be here.'
Although, according to the report, Remedy is not ready to demo the tech fully yet, and won't reveal which new project it might be applied to, some technical details have emerged.
The report quotes John Root, the studio's lead animator whose previous employers include id and Epic, stating that 'while traditional motion capture offers a reliable way to create human movements and expressions, the need for “retargeting” (the process by which animators adjust raw captured data for final display) leaves the method open to inaccuracies and human error.'
The report goes on:
'Created by Root, Remedy’s powerful tech uses motion capture as a starting point for generating scans of actors (in this case, Alan Wake’s physical model, lkka Villi) accurate to ½ mm, including 64 facial poses from which Root claims every human expression can be derived.
Armed with a highly accurate model of the actor, animators can then use sliders to adjust expressions based on the captured positions, allowing them to control and edit a realistic human face in real time rather than rely on bespoke performances for every cutscene and action, or manually animate the same expression.'
The effect is, according to Edge, 'strikingly nuanced' and apparently Root is gunning for more, with colour mapping still to be added to allow for blood flow simulation. [EDGE]