Image Metrics Delivers Facial Animation, Rigging for Activision's Racer Blur
August 20, 2009

Image Metrics Delivers Facial Animation, Rigging for Activision's Racer Blur

Los Angeles, Calif. -  Image Metrics, provider of facial animation technology and services for the entertainment industry, is providing facial animation and rigging to UK-based game developer Bizarre Creations for the upcoming title Blur. Described as the ultimate powered-up racing video game, Blur is due out later this year from Activision Publishing Inc. Image Metrics will use its proprietary technology to provide facial animation as well as rig building and rig transfer services for roughly 20 characters featured in the game.
“A fast-paced, heart-pumping racing game like Blur gets even more intense when players connect emotionally with the characters in the story,” says Brian Waddle, executive vice president of Image Metrics. “Instead of working around facial animation by using helmets to mask characters, we are excited to help the team at Bizarre Creations by using our technology to animate characters that visually express the intensity and excitement in the game.”

The Image Metrics facial animation process requires no markers, no make-up, and no costly equipment. Image Metrics captures an actor’s performance, then analyzes the actor’s facial expression data using its proprietary technology. The analysis turns the data into animation curves that Image Metrics is providing to Bizarre Creations to apply to its 3D character models. Image Metrics also developed facial rigs optimized for the core facial structures essential for producing emotive facial animation in Blur.

“Image Metrics’ facial animation technology has helped to not only speed up the pace of animating the faces of our characters in Blur, but has also enhanced the delivery of the game’s story through expressive animation that creates a heightened sense of urgency,” says David Barton, cinematics producer, Bizarre Creations. “With believable facial reactions created by Image Metrics, players truly understand the mood, intensity and determination of our characters, and in turn further enhances the drive to earn their respect and win races in Blur.”

Blur is the ultimate powered-up racing experience, dropping players into heart-pumping, electrified action with multiple cars trading paint as they charge towards the finish line, says a representative. Drivers careen through real-world track locations packed with fast curves, sneaky alternate routes, and hair-raising jumps in more than 50 licensed cars as they collect intense Power-ups, including the ability to blast other cars out of the way with huge bursts of energy, boost their speed, and more.

The game’s story unfolds through Bizarre Creations’ community-based interface, enabling players to build a network of allies, rivals, fans, and personalized racing experiences with friends both inside and outside the game.

Blur is planned for release this fall for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, and the PC.