Activision demos incredible lifelike facial rendering technology

By on March 28, 2013, 10:00 AM

Activision’s research and development team has been working hard as of late to produce what they are calling next generation character rendering. The company showed off the new technology at the Game Developers Conference and although the video clip on display is short, it shows a number of facial animations running in real time that are stunning.

As you can see in the clip below, the animations are extremely lifelike – perhaps more so than any others we have seen to date. Activision said they used source material from USC Institute for Creative Technologies and converted it into a “70 bones rig” using advanced techniques to deliver realism to the eyes and skin.

The company said the rendering was done on current hardware and as an example, an Nvidia GeForce 680 can pump out the visuals at 120 frames per second. Keep in mind of course that this is without anything else being rendered – not exactly how it would take place in a real game.

If you’re thinking this looks all a bit familiar (and a little creepy), you aren’t mistaken. A demo called Face Works was recently shown during Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference that actually utilized the same source data as Activision’s demo. Nvidia said the technology used to power their demo required about half of a Titan graphics card’s power to run – no small feat.

During Sony’s presentation for the PlayStation 4 last month, the company showed a demo of an old man’s face that featured an extremely high level of detail.




User Comments: 27

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Impressive. Can't wait to see what computer gaming will be like 5 years from now. The realism will simply be movie-like.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I can't agree more, in 5 years time I can see games have extremely rich story telling and immersion.

There were a couple of times in the the video above I thought "man that really does look life like".

Imagine Mass Effect with this kind of tech :P

LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

It's funny to think that I was just as amazed by the PS2's character animation only 10 years ago, and I now look back and think "Wow, how did that impress me?!" 10 years from now, we'll be looking back at these demos and thinking the exact same thing.

Damn I love technology.

ThanosPAS ThanosPAS said:

It's funny to think that I was just as amazed by the PS2's character animation only 10 years ago, and I now look back and think "Wow, how did that impress me?!" 10 years from now, we'll be looking back at these demos and thinking the exact same thing.

Damn I love technology.

Yoy maybe won't because there is a limit in how realistic a face can be and this semulation is not far away from that. It will be great if this level of detail could be aplied to a whole simulated world but I belive this is not the only purpose of a game.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Excellent! Even more realistic angry white male protagonists can now be rendered!

I'm certainly excited for what Sony, and to a lesser extent, Microsoft, will eventually unveil, but I would much rather see a render of a fully realized fantasy/otherworldly setting. THAT would get me pumped for what could be, though I'm reluctant to hold much stock in any render (confirmed to be on next-gen hardware or otherwise). Almost without exception, launch games get nowhere near to meeting the potential of a render, so why get your hopes up?

Guest said:

Literally the only part of this which looks weird are the matte teeth and the pitch black mouth, all the other parts are incredible. OFC they still have no way to render hair so expect a lot of bald people and people wearing hats when this first comes to games :P

ikesmasher said:

Thats freaking scary how real it looks.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

The skin needs a little more work, and the teeth in particular look bad, but the eyes... oh my, that's extremely impressive and realistic.

Mbloof said:

Indeed the eyes were amazing and the insides of the mouth not so much.

Timonius Timonius said:

Overall, very impressive. I agree that the inside mouth needs work. And I also got the impression that they need some work on the ears too. Aside from rendering hair, I wonder if they could pull over a stubble look.

gruesomeA said:

Pretty awesome. Work in some pupil dilation and constriction, and it'll look a little less creepy

SammyJames said:

I've given this WAY too much thought, but here's what I've been thinking about :

Remember first that I've been thinking about this for twenty years -- ever since I saw Jurassic Park. I knew that one day, people could be brought to life by graphics. So, I began thinking about what court cases might become like if anyone could create "evidence" of someone doing something awful -- when that person wasn't even there.

After even more thought, I realized what the answer could be: Video may no longer be admissible as evidence in a court-of-law. It is possible that eyewitness accounts, DNA evidence, and secure-only tracking of a person's movements during a time period might end up being the only way to prove or disprove anything.

I'm curious to see what happens over the next five years, like many others on this forum. The difference is that I'm more interested to see how this type of technology gets used -- not for games -- but for VIDEO.

Think about how many actors could be unemployed if television and print advertisers want to employ "virtual" humans to push their products. Think about how many actors could be unemployed if television networks want to create programs that would involve only graphics. And next up -- Hollywood. ESPECIALLY for action flicks with incredible stunts that people would rather not do -- or could never do.

Voice actors will become more numerous for a time -- until speech synthesis catches up. (And it will.)

Then one day, when everyone dies, the computers will talk to each other. The whole thing would make Craigslist look like the Yellow Pages. (I mean the real PAPER Yellow Pages, of course.)

Thirteenth Floor?

Maybe...

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

The whole thing would make Craigslist look like the Yellow Pages. (I mean the real PAPER Yellow Pages, of course.)

I don't know what you mean, Craigslist has always looked like crap. How much worse can it get?

And here's a little more for you to think about...

SammyJames said:

I don't know what you mean, Craigslist has always looked like crap. How much worse can it get?

And here's a little more for you to think about...

Thanks for the reply. Seriously? I was joking (a bit) about Craigslist. But I wasn't joking about videos that could be created someday -- videos that could render (pun intended) real video obsolete. At least, we won't be able to tell reality from fantasy anymore when it comes to what people see on a flat screen. Or a curved screen. Or whatever else that isn't really happening in front of you in real life.

And as for more to think about -- I'm also seriously trying to avoid thinking about hot virtual women. I've had enough of that in my real life too -- from ex-girlfriends who exist only as memories... not even as optical illusions on YouTube...

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

The demo is showcasing Activisions' lifelike facial rendering technology, not their, "Inside the mouth rendering technology".

I apologize for my ignorance in advance, to anyone that needs to look inside someones' mouth to know if they are happy or sad.

Guest said:

Amazing, if it weren't for the jaggies on the mouth that would be pretty much perfect.

Guest said:

Its already the case, a lot of video evidence isn't admissible if the provenance can't be proven. CCTVs etc. introduce encryption or other technicues (eg. [link] ) to provide it.

trgz said:

It's odd how they managed to get the eyes so lifelike with the interface/edge-overlapping/bordering (insert the correct term here!) between the skin and eyeball so spot on, yet the teeth and inside of the mouth remains such a difficult area for developers; though this is the best or among the best so far.

The skin needs a little more work, and the teeth in particular look bad, but the eyes... oh my, that's extremely impressive and realistic.

ironmanjakarta ironmanjakarta said:

Don't know if you've been keeping up with current events, but in 5 years the US economy will be a burned out husk. People will be struggling to just eat and house themselves, not sitting around playing expensive games on high powered computers. Those days are coming to an end.

Impressive. Can't wait to see what computer gaming will be like 5 years from now. The realism will simply be movie-like.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Think positive the US economy is going through a economy refresh. Jobs can be created for super coast to coast rail system which really should be some sort of overhead rail system instead of using the old tech from the 1800 track and rail. People will still play expensive games if money is available to buy such products. Making real human faces on the screen looks like where they're going with more GPU, BIT, RAM, VECTORING etc.. They have to sell new tech otherwise no one wins.

cmbjive said:

Why do I have this sudden urge to sing the theme song to Howard's World?

cromagnon cromagnon said:

That is some cool shit

Guest said:

Waste of time.. ugly dude... those developers have serious mental problems...sick..

Guest said:

Ok aside from the very badly done teeth and lip edges and also the ears that are not human, I really like the skin, how it looks oily and realistic. I think what makes it the most realistic is the shallow depth of field that it was rendered at. However I think the dialogue is flawed, he keeps saying words starting with "f", but never actually purses his lips like a human does. Every f word looks like he's trying to be a ventriloquist

smartu89 smartu89 said:

Wow....its cool...Can't wait to see games running with this Tech....

Face Works really is a real piece of work....LOL..

This is sure will cme to Next-Gen Console's too....

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