August 12, 2008

Image Metrics, USC Institute Put A New Face on Photo-realism

Image Metrics, a provider of facial animation solutions to the entertainment industry, partnered with Paul Debevec of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies to create a photo-realistic computer-generated (CG) animated face. ICT's facial scanning system was used to create a computer-generated replica of actress Emily O'Brien's face at high-definition (HD) resolution, while Image Metrics brought the CG character to life by capturing, tracking, and animating the actress’ performance. "Emily" makes her worldwide debut in Image Metrics' booth 1229. A behind-the-scenes Tech Talk on Emily's creation will be given today, August 13, from 1 to 2:30 pm, in Room 2, Hall G. ICT employed its high-resolution face scanning process to capture O'Brien in 35 facial poses directed by Image Metrics. This newest process from the ICT Graphics Lab places the actor inside a sphere of LED lights, illuminating the talent with a set of polarized spherical gradient illumination patterns while a pair of high-resolution digital cameras takes around 15 photographs in under three seconds.
Image Metrics' proprietary facial animation solutions are used in the entertainment industry to translate actors' exact performances onto digital characters in games, film, and television. Using no markers or makeup, Image Metrics captures facial performances using standard or high-definition video. Its computer vision technology then analyzes that captured performance pixel-by-pixel, including subtle eye and mouth movements, and applies that information to a 3D model.