Thu 21st Mar 2013 | News
Faceware's Retargeter 4.0 brings with it AutoSolve markerless facial motion capture from video.
Faceware Technologies has unveiled Retargeter 4.0. This is a major upgrade to its Faceware software from the leading provider of markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions. The new software’s key features include AutoSolve, Expression Sets, Tracking Visualization, Shared Pose Thumbnails and Batch Processing, focus on automating more of the facial motion capture process, as well as simplifying creative collaboration. The new software will be demonstrated at GDC in San Francisco next week.
Retargeter 4.0 is a lightweight plug-in to Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage and MotionBuilder. It is part of Faceware’s Professional Product Line, a suite of facial mocap hardware and software used by some of the most successful franchises in AAA development, including Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed, God of War, Halo, NBA 2K, Red Dead Redemption, and many others. Faceware has also been used on Academy Award-winning feature films and Grammy-winning music videos. Most recently, Faceware Technologies products were used to create acclaimed performances in Crytek’s Crysis 3, Square Enix’s Sleeping Dogs, Yash Raj Films Ek Tha Tiger, and the upcoming release of Toei Animation’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock.
“In February, we announced that Retargeter 4.0 is coming. As soon as we did, artists began contacting us to find out more information,” said Peter Busch, Vice President of Business Development at Faceware Technologies. “So in an effort to meet their requests, we’re now disclosing more details. While I can’t reveal all of the features that will make it into the final release, I can say that every feature, especially AutoSolve, focuses on increasing the quality of your starting point and speeding the more mundane elements of hand animating so that artists can more quickly get to the part that matters: perfecting and polishing performances that set their CG characters apart.”
Combining the data from IMPD files generated from Faceware Analyzer along with pre-defined facial poses or ‘Expression Sets’, Retargeter’s AutoSolve can automatically create animation on a video performance with the simple click of a button, giving artists a great first pass in a matter of minutes that they can then fine tune through the award-winning Retargeter pose-driven workflow.
“AutoSolve is a revolutionary step in facial motion capture,” explains Busch. “We are excited to give studios the opportunity with Retargeter 4.0 to really capitalize on the idea of rapid prototyping. Directors, artists, and producers will now be able to judge performance earlier in their production cycle-- making more effective use of facial budgets.”
Retargeter 4.0 makes use of an improved IMPD file that contains the complex data needed for AutoSolve. It also contains a helpful way to see the tracking information that comes out of Faceware Analyzer. This feature enables artists to better understand what is going on in the facial tracking process to better utilize Retargeter.
The command line abilities built into Retargeter 4.0 allow any function within Retargeter to be scripted, letting artists create a complete batch pipeline for facial animation. With minimal character setup and a little basic scripting, artists can easily set up and AutoSolve hundreds of shots overnight. Retargeter 4.0 will support a library of MEL, Python, and MaxScript commands.
Shared Pose Thumbnails
Sometimes there are multiple artists using Retargeter for the same character on a project. Retargeter 4.0 now gives artists the ability to add thumbnail images for every pose, so that other artists on the team have a reference for every shared pose and can find what they need faster. Artists have the ability to custom define each thumbnail, such as focusing on a particular area of a pose or showing the entire facial pose.
Retargeter 4.0 is slated to launch in April following its beta program. The plug-in will continue to be free and will work with current versions of Faceware Analyzer. Users wishing to use the AutoSolve function will need IMPD files to be created with Analyzer 1.3. Upon launch, Faceware Retargeter 4.0 will be available for the following packages:Maya 2010-2013, 3ds Max 2010-2013, MotionBuilder 2010-2013 and Softimage 2010-2013
As mentioned, the new software will be shown in demonstrations at Faceware Technologies’ Booth #1036 at GDC, March 27-29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and will be discussed in Remington Scott’s talk “Performance Capture: Insights from the Edge” on Wednesday, March 27th, from 11:00-12:00 in the West Hall (Room 3001).