Los Angeles - Image Metrics, a provider of facial animation solutions to the entertainment industry, has projected life onto a photo-real CG heart that sings about its loss of love in Gnarls Barkley's latest video, "Who's Gonna Save My Soul," from the recently released album, The Odd Couple.
Radical Media, producers of the video, turned to Image Metrics for its facial-animation solution, which was used to exactly capture lead singer Cee-Lo's lips for translation onto the digital heart.
The project marks Image Metrics' first music video collaboration with Gradient Effects, which designed and developed character animation for the CG heart.
Chris Milk, director of Kanye West, U2, and Green Day music videos, wrote and directed the project. Milk wanted to capture Cee-Lo singing the lyrics and add his lips to the photo-real CG human heart designed and animated by Gradient Effects. This proved to be a challenge, as traditional motion-capture techniques rely on tracking markers, which cannot be placed on lips.
Radical Media and Gradient Effects turned to Image Metrics and its video-based capture process that works easily with any footage to capture the entire face, pixel-by-pixel, including the lips and eyes.
"We could not find any other technology that was able to achieve the level of exacting perfection I was asking for on this video. The lips had to move like real human lips," says Milk. "In the end, not only did Image Metrics deliver lip animation that was a completely believable replica of Cee-Lo's, but they did so within a very short turnaround."
Gradient Effects provided the model and rig of the heart and Cee-Lo's lips for the video. Using those, one tracker, two animators, and one modeler from Image Metrics produced 15 shots totaling 45 seconds.