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Synchronicity Facial Performance Capture Demo Sets New Standards

Brendan Griffiths
Graphics, Next-gen, Tech demo

Synchronicity Facial Performance Capture Demo Sets New Standards

Fancy a look at the future of graphics for facial performance capture? Then you really need to see this outstanding video which was produced from a collaboration of three teams. Capture, casting, voice recording, writing and direction was handled by Side, 3Lateral took care of head rigging and Cubic Motion was in charge of animating the results.

The three teams decided to produce the demo because they wanted to show off their skills at the cutting edge of what they were capable of today. In an interview with Develop magazine, Side MD Andy Emery said: "We've had it, as three outsourcing companies, where we've worked on various big projects, but been frustrated in the past by the fact we can't showcase anything we've worked on publicly until a point where everything has moved on."

Cubic Motion's Simon Elmes added, "We wanted to create something we could share, and that was completely in our control, where there was no sacrifice made to compression, or many of the other restrictions we sometimes face."

So without the restrictions of NDA's or having to produce something for a specific game, the three teams were able to produce this video short which shows a woman recording what looks like a video diary letter home. There's an impressive range (and more importantly, depth) of emotions on display and unlike many facial tech demos, we're not just looking at a chatting floating head. Instead, we have a full cinematic cutscene complete with a background and real-time lighting reflecting on the character's face. Hell, even the shifting material on the t-shirt looks good. Take a look for yourselves and let us know what you think in the comments section.


So what do you reckon folks? Is this a step up from Quantic Dream's Kara tech demo? If you'd like to see a Making Of for Synchronicity, take a look at the S3C website.

Add a comment7 comments
Late  Feb. 15, 2014 at 15:34

Very impressive.
On the downside the non-facial stuff didn't scan right (the way her T-shirt sleeve floated above her arm particularly irritated me). I know it's all about the facial animation, but when implementing it it's important not to neglect everything else. With the face being so realistic while other stuff isn't it leaves you with the very disconcerting impression of a real face glued onto a CGI character.

rarefaction  Feb. 15, 2014 at 21:05

Awful acting, awful script. Cheesy. Try again and get naughty dog to write and cast it. And why does that dude have a women's voice???

GeorgeP34  Feb. 15, 2014 at 23:49

Very well done. It's very difficult to make the mouth move and react right. Very nicely done!!! BRAVO!

Shocked1  Feb. 15, 2014 at 23:59

Looks fantastic. Great technology and I can't wait to see it in a game. Stunning stuff, Keep it up.

Zephbane  Feb. 16, 2014 at 08:08

FANTATIC animation. One critique though. There's a point, after she regains composure that I would have loved to see some vascular flare in her forehead. Those two veins that form a V between the brow.

Crazy Jamie  Feb. 16, 2014 at 13:19

It's clearly a step up from Kara, but then again Kara was nearly two years ago, so you would certainly hope for some advancement in that time. It's a very impressive demo, but I agree with Late that whilst these sorts of demos are all well and good, technology needs to be implemented in a way within games that gives an overall sense of immersion. Ironically one aspect being so much more advanced than the rest can actually hamper the immersion factor. Still, promising stuff at the very least.

X10  Feb. 16, 2014 at 19:23

I don't think I watched the same video as the rest of you. I found the mouth movements very stunted, there wasn't enough movement in the mouth & jaw muscles to make me believe it was real. That has been the way with all these tech demos I see, no matter how much technology is involved it still doesn't quite get the nuances of the mouth quite right.
There are also studies that show that the closer to real something looks, but is actually not exactly accurate, the more jarring it is on the brain, compared to something that doesn't look real at all-our brain forgives the fallacy.

I'd be interested to see the original video of the woman speaking to see exactly how he mouth did move.

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