As part of the motion capture side of the brief i wanted to take a little look at performance capture. The first software that came to mind was Image Metrics software Faceware. I saw their talk at 2011 Bradford Animation Festival and have a nice excuse to filter it in my studies.

http://www.image-metrics.com/jwplayer/player.swf

I have had so many problems actually getting to use the trial offered by their web and some problems with access to window computers as the plugin is windows only. But i did eventually get to use it, with help from my tutors and some very lovely people and ImageMetrics.

I have been E-mailing Jay from Faceware technologies and he has been incredibly patient and helpful and I would like to say thanks! He has informed me that they are working on an education program so I am excited to see what we will have access to.

Everything you need to test out their software is available!

The Character rigs can be found here – http://www.facewaretech.com/support/retargeter-support/faceware-facial-rig-library/

The processed performances – http://www.image-metrics.com/performance_library.php

and the plug in – http://www.image-metrics.com/Faceware-Software/Download

So you are all set to have ago. I used this tutorial that I had watched previously provided by Image metrics.

From this short tutorial I was able to grasp an understanding of the plugin very quickly. It is very easy and user friendly and the effect i got in just an hour were amazing. Suddenly this polygon head was alive and talking!

Here are my results!

I had about 2 hours play time with the Ilana Rig I covered the animation in the tutorial and continued to expand on some other facial movements. Two hours is no where near enough to get a perfect performance, but you can see how quickly you can start to get a really nice result!

So I’m not entirely sure how it works but its very clever.

The performance capture is marker less!

Then send off the footage to be analised by Faceware software.

And you will get sent back IMPD. This is the data that will link the facial movements of your actor onto your character rig. Now there is a lot more in between bits that i know i wouldn’t understand. But the part we as humans beings needs to do is tell the plug in at what point the eyes are looking up and match the fame to the character rig and apply! in seconds hundreds of key frames will be added. Now every time the actor looks up, the character looks up, it has gone all the way through the sequence and keyed the eyes in position. Then onto the next pose, eyes looking down for example, find a pose where the actor is looking down, adjust your character rig and apply etc. You go through all the major poses like this and you end up with a performance like the one i did.

I am hoping that i can get a performance of my own recorded and analyzed so I can apply it to my own character!

So 5 stars to the people at Faceware technologies.

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