The company's founders expect that Face2Face will allow users to cre ate animations very quickly, ena b ling, for example, multilingual versions of animated characters, or the simultaneous delivery of animations to multiple media such as television, games, and the Web. The small size of a Face2Face animation file makes it ideal for delivery over the Web (the software is based on the MPEG-4 standard of object-based animation). Facial animation instructions could be delivered via e-mail, for example, for use on a model residing on a user's PC. Currently the software is being beta-tested by Nick Digital, Nickelodeon's interactive production studio.
Initially, Face2Face will work only with models created in Avid's Softimage 3D (the product has also been tested with Softimage XSI, formerly code-named Sumatra). The company plans to provide support for additional applications on an ongoing basis. Face2Face is scheduled to become commercially available in July. It will run on Windows, SGI, and Linux platforms, and will be available as a free download from the Face2Face Web site. Users will pay for Face2Face by frame of video processed (pricing to be determined). Once processed, the resulting animation data may be applied to multiple characters at no additional charge. (Face2Face; Summit, NJ; 908-598-1900; www.f2f-inc.com)-JD