Facial-Capture Avatars Go from Hollywood to Home PCs
A Japanese PC technology can capture facial expressions and transfer them directly onto a virtual avatar.
CREDIT: DigInfo News
A simple webcam and PC setup could mimic expensive motion-capture technology used to transfer a Hollywood actor's performance to the big screen. The Japanese development means any ordinary computer user may easily control a virtual avatar's facial expressions and movements in animated films or video games.
The computer program uses "time series signal processing" to detect and track a person's face from second to second, according to DigInfo News. Such software tracks changes in the person's eyes, nose, mouth and face orientation without the need for facial-recognition dots or motion-capture harnesses worn by actors in the sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar" made in 2009.
Games such as "LA Noire" have also made use of similar performance-capture technologies for actors playing out the role of game characters. But the rise of a home-compatible technology could enable new games or homegrown filmmaking. [Solve Virtual Murder Mysteries in 'L.A. Noire' by Reading Faces]
Researchers at Tokyo's Keio University hope to make the software work for almost any standard PC so that they could potentially market it to many different companies or users. In a separate effort, Sony Online Entertainment has developed an in-house version of the facial recognition technology for players of its EverQuest II online game.