New software upgrade creates quality markerless facial motion capture from video at unprecedented speed
Sherman Oaks, Calif. – March 21, 2013 – Faceware Technologies, the leading provider of markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions, today unveiled Retargeter 4.0, a major upgrade to its award-winning Faceware software. The new software’s key features, which 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 on display at this year’s Game Developers Conference in booth #1036 (March 27-29).
Retargeter 4.0 is a lightweight plug-in to Autodesk® Maya®, Autodesk® 3ds Max®, Autodesk® Softimage® and Autodesk® 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.”
Retargeter 4.0 Key Features:
An add-on to the Character Setup process, Expression Sets are a group of pre-defined, standard facial poses that are unique to each character in your project. Expression Sets define the style and look of the universal shapes and movements of a character to drive AutoSolve.
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.
Pricing and Availability
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:
- Autodesk Maya 2010-2013
- Autodesk 3ds Max 2010-2013
- Autodesk MotionBuilder 2010-2013
- Autodesk Softimage 2010-2013
Where to See a Product Demonstration
The new software will be shown in demonstrations at Faceware Technologies’ Booth #1036 at the Game Developers Conference (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).
About Faceware Technologies
Sherman Oaks, California-based Faceware Technologies Inc. (FTI), which spun off from Image Metrics in 2012, is dedicated to meeting the needs of professional animators in the video game, film, television, and commercial industries. The company’s Faceware product line has been utilized in the production of more than 80 AAA video game titles, feature films, music videos, commercials, television shows, and stage plays, and is the leading facial animation solution provider for clients such as Double Negative, Digital Domain, Blur Studios, Activision-Blizzard, Rockstar Games, Microsoft, 2K Sports, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sega, Sony, Bethesda, Motion Theory and Moving Picture Company. The Faceware Facial Motion Capture product line consists of the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS), the 6th generation facial performance capture hardware; Faceware Analyzer, which allows clients to analyze and process their own performance videos without IP or content going offsite; and Faceware Retargeter, a free plug-in which allows users to create facial motion capture data at a much faster rate than traditional methods.
GamingBolt – Faceware’s Jay Grenier Talks About Motion Capture In Games, Console Limitations, Future of Tech And More
“We recently had an opportunity to interview Jay Grenier, Director, Technical Operations at Faceware Technologies, Inc. Faceware is a company that specializes in facial motion capture for video games as well as movies. They have have brought faces to life in AAA video game franchises like Crysis, Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed. We asked Jay about the future of the technology, the games that are utilizing Faceware and a ton of other interesting things.”
Faceware Technologies signs two reseller agreements to aggressively target Japan and China with its Facial Motion Capture Technology
Santa Monica, Calif. – Nov 13, 2012 – Faceware Technologies, a leading provider of 3D facial motion capture solutions for the video game, film, television and commercial industries, today announced that it has dramatically increased its foothold in the Asian market by signing two new resellers: Japan’s Crescent Inc,. the exclusive distributor of Vicon Motion Capture Systems to the Japanese entertainment market, and Beijing Ou-Lei Technology, Co, Ltd., a successful supplier of entertainment equipment & solutions in China.
Faceware Technologies, which spun off from the facial motion capture services company Image Metrics at the beginning of 2012, offers its technology to the video game, film, television, and commercial industries via direct sales. Earlier this year, Faceware announced the hiring of a business development director in Europe. Japan’s Crescent Inc. and Beijing Ou-Lei Technology are the first resellers Faceware has signed in the growing Asian animation market.
Faceware’s move is the result of increasing demand from that geographic region. While Japan has been historically strong in the video game and 2D animation space, with a continued need for more realistic facial animation, China is a more recent entrant onto the animation scene. In April of this year, Disney announced that it would join an initiative to develop China’s animation industry. That announcement came on the heels of DreamWorks Animation’s announcement of a joint venture with Shanghai Media Group, China’s second-largest media company. Together, the announcements point to a surge in the Asian market that Faceware has felt.
“We have been selling directly to those markets for a few years, but given the increasing demand and the time differences, it made more sense to partner with companies that know the market and offer complementary technologies to ours,” said Peter Busch, vice president of business development at Faceware Technologies. “In Crescent and Beijing Ou-Lei Technology, we’ve found two strong partners with deep ties to their countries’ entertainment markets.”
“Crescent is the exclusive distributor of the world-leading Vicon Motion Capture Systems to the entertainment market,” said Hajime Kotani, founder of Crescent Inc. “Faceware’s technology not only offers high-quality, markerless facial motion capture; its ability to work seamlessly with Vicon’s systems allows us to offer animation studios a far more complete solution for performance capture.”
Adds Lei Xi, vice president at Beijing Ou-Lei Technology, Co, Ltd.: “Marker-based facial motion capture systems are not accurate and very difficult to use. That is the primary reason we decided to work with Faceware Technologies.”
The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of hardware (the optional Faceware Head-Mounted Camera) and software (Faceware Analyzer and Retargeter), which handle every step in the capture and production of high-quality facial animation: facial motion capture, performance analysis, and facial animation creation. Faceware’s Analyzer and Retargeter software are free of charge; however, studios and commercial clients must pay a processing fee for the analysis for the captured performance. The Faceware Head-Mounted Camera is available to rent or purchase.
About Faceware Technologies
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Faceware Technologies Inc. (FTI), which spun off from Image Metrics in 2012, is dedicated to meeting the needs of professional animators in the video game, film, television, and commercial industries. The company’s Faceware product line has been utilized in the production of more than 50 AAA video game titles, feature films, music videos, and stage plays, and is the leading facial animation solution provider for clients such as Double Negative, Digital Domain, Blur Studios, Activision-Blizzard, Rockstar Games, Microsoft, 2K Sports, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sega, Sony, Bethesda, Motion Theory and Moving Picture Company. The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS), the 5th generation facial performance capture hardware; Faceware Analyzer, which allows clients to analyze and process their own videos without IP or content going offsite; and Faceware Retargeter, which allows users to create facial animation at a much faster rate than traditional methods.For more information, please visit:
© 2012. Faceware Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. “Faceware” is a registered trademark of Faceware Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s).
Faceware Tech is happy to announce the release of Analyzer 1.2! The focus of 1.2 has been to increase the speed of the processing as much as possible and reduce the amount of time it takes to export your data. This includes many back-end optimizations as well as an upgrade to a powerful new server. Users should notice a significant boost in the speed of Parameterization. Read on for more info!
Download the new version here.
Upgrading from a previous version of Analyzer? You will want to manually change your ‘Web Service URL’ to point to the new server to take advantages of the new speed. Because you’ve previously used the app, your current URL is saved in your preferences and will persist even when you upgrade. Simply change the URL the first time you Parameterize on 1.2, and it will be saved going forward. The new URL is: https://secure.facewaretech.com/1.0/We’re excited to hear your feedback on this new version. Feel free to contact us and let us know what you think. Thanks for using Faceware!
Faceware Technologies is excited to announce we’re an official sponsor of the CG Monks Morpheus Rig 2.0 Kickstarter Campaign. The campaign, which has already surpassed its financial goal of $20,000 is aimed at building on the resounding success of the Morpheus 1.0 rig, which according to CG Monks.com has over 115,000 unique views and/or downloads. FTI’s interest in Morpheus 2.0 is to support and encourage stronger asset building and especially artist-friendly character rigs. Faceware’s artist-friendly Retargeter facial motion capture software will perfectly complement the Morpheus 2.0 rig. Faceware will also be aiding in the development of the Morpheus 2.0 facial rig, based on its years of experience in facial rigging for over 50 AAA titles and 20 TV/VFX/Film projects.
The pledge shows Faceware’s continued support for the artist community combining well with their Faceware Education Outreach Program which allows schools and education institutions free and unlimited use of the Faceware software suite. Both Animation Mentor and CG Spectrum are co-sponsoring the campaign as well.
Josh Burton, co-founder of CG Monks and the Morpheus Rig, is quite excited for Faceware’s support and sponsorship of the program; Burton previously hosted a Faceware Webinar on character rigging. The Kickstarter campaign ends on November 7, 2012. To support the project, check out the page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cgmonks/morpheus-rig-v20.
Faceware Head-Mounted Camera
Join FTI on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 2:00 PDT for the next installment in the Faceware Webinar Series. Our performance capture supervisor, Christopher Jones, will guide you through using the Faceware Headcam in a variety of scenarios.Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Time: 2:00pm PDT
Chris has supervised facial capture on over 30 AAA games, films, and commercials in dozens of sound stages, VO booths, and mocap facilities across the world. He designs, specs, budgets, installs, trains and operates facial video pipelines to integrate and synchronize with any other concurrent capture, whether that is body, ref, or audio.
For this session, he will go over building and adjusting the camera for any actor, recording options, using the Headcam in a VO booth and a mocap stage, and the differences in using an FTI Headcam vs. other Headcams or optical data. He will be taking questions during the presentation and will have a full Q&A session immediately following. Don’t miss it!Register Here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/229363486
The video of the event will be on YouTube about a week after the webinar.
Come and join us for a FREE webinar on October 2, 2012
Join Faceware Product Specialist, Brian Genna, as he walks through his facial tracking workflow and covers some of the tips and tricks that have enabled him to master Analyzer. With fast tracking comes fast facial animation. Using Brian’s techniques you’ll see how it’s possible to produce top quality tracking data extremely quickly.
He’ll be covering the basics of the application, the tracking workflow, as well as doing a QA at the end of the session to answer specific questions from the audience.
Brian Genna has been with Faceware for five years and has been an integral part of the facial animation productions on dozens of AAA video games, music videos, commercials, as well as multiple award-winning feature films. He’s one of the leading forces behind the design of Analyzer.
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/515812854
Title: Getting Started with Analyzer
Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM PDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet
FTI is proud to announce the release of Analyzer 1.1. We’ve had great success with this version in tightening up the workflow, speeding up the performance of the app, and making the entire process easier and more streamlined for the user. In addition to a general boost in Tracking speed, the ability to share and build Training Models across different shots has been added to significantly increase data throughput.
Download the latest version here.
Students Can Now Create High-Fidelity Facial Performances with Faceware Free of Charge
SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 31, 2012 – Faceware Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of 3D facial animation software and hardware for the video game, film, television and commercial industries, today announced that it is rolling out its Educational Program to educational institutions around the world. The new program, which is currently being tested by a select number of universities including the UK’s University of Portsmouth, will allow students to create high-fidelity facial animation with the Faceware Professional Software Products, free of charge. Faceware is showcasing the first student project created with its technology, Stina and the Wolf, in booth #1129 at Siggraph 2012.
“Creating detailed and convincing animated facial performances is arguably one of the toughest challenges any animator faces in the 3d world,” said Ron Ryder, CEO of Faceware Technologies. “With our new Educational Program, schools will have the ability to train student animators in this cutting-edge form of animation with our industry leading tools prior to launching graduates into a fast-paced production environment.”
The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of software and hardware technology to handle every step in the production of high-quality facial animation: video performance capture, performance analysis, and facial animation creation. Faceware’s Analyzer and Retargeter software are free of charge; however, studios and commercial clients must pay a processing fee for the analysis for the captured performance. With the Educational Program, Faceware is waiving the processing fees to give all students access to free and unlimited use of Analyzer and Retargeter for educational purposes. The only cost associated with the program is for the rental of the optional head-mounted camera system (HMCS), if needed.
Giving free and unlimited access to Faceware software products allows students to take advantage of the Company’s extensive knowledge and research in computer vision techniques in facial and gesture recognition, and to draw on the Company’s vast experience in providing facial animation on groundbreaking projects such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Wolfman, the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, Halo: Reach and many others.
“The animation industry continues to evolve, and keeping students not only informed about, but trained on, the latest tools is immensely important to the long-term health of our program and the success of our students,” said Alex Counsell, Principal Technician at Portsmouth’s School of Creative Technologies. “Faceware’s suite of tools is arguably the most proven, advanced and easy to learn facial animation technology on the market. Just look at what we did in a matter of weeks for our Stina and the Wolf trailer and the benefits of Faceware become clear.”
The first student production to use Faceware’s Professional Product Line is Portsmouth’s Stina and the Wolf. Using Faceware’s software, Portsmouth’s student-run production completed four (4) minutes of detailed facial animation with only a handful of junior animators and one (1) senior animator in four (4) weeks. A clip from the movie can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/46285003.
Educational institutions interested in Faceware’s Educational Program should fill out the inquiry form online at www.facewaretech.com/education. For more information on the technology and the company, visit www.facewaretech.com/education.
New Professional Product Line Puts Faceware’s Complete Facial Animation Tool Suite Into Animator’s Hands
Faceware’s New End-to-End Tool Suite Helps Animators Create High-Fidelity Facial Performances 3-10x Faster than Hand Keying
SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 31, 2012 – Faceware Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of 3D facial animation software for the video game, film, television and commercial industries, today announced that it has launched its Faceware Professional Product Line, a low-cost, start-to-finish facial animation tool suite built to capture, analyze and create realistic facial performances 3-10x faster than hand keying that same performance. The Faceware Professional Product Line, which until now has only been in production testing at select studios, includes completely updated versions of the Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS) and Faceware Retargeter, and a brand new product called Faceware Analyzer. This marks the first time Faceware has offered all of its internal technologies for use in studios.
“With shrinking budgets and shorter production timelines, studios are trying to create better quality animations earlier in the production process to save both time and money,” said Ron Ryder, CEO of Faceware Technologies. “By offering all of our technologies as a turnkey suite of hardware and software that can be operated internally, we’re giving studios greater control of their animation timeline and their valuable IP, and enabling them to create better facial performances at the beginning of the production process.”
“This is our first time working with Faceware and we have been very impressed by their products and team,” said a spokesperson from the animation studio, Marza Animation Planet. “Faceware is a boon for our studio through its ability to reduce costs by speeding up the animation process. Integrating both Faceware Retargeter and Faceware Head Mounted Cameras into our production has required little effort and has been a smooth transition for our animation team.”
The Faceware Professional Product Line has its roots in the Company’s extensive knowledge and research in computer vision techniques in facial and gesture recognition, and from the Company’s vast experience in providing facial animation services on groundbreaking projects such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Wolfman, the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption, Halo: Reach and many others.
The Faceware Professional Product Line consists of technologies to handle every step in the facial animation process: video capture, performance analysis, and facial animation creation:
CAPTURE: The Faceware Head-Mounted Camera System (HMCS) consists of a durable helmet, bracing, camera mount and camera, and works in tandem with MoCap suits to capture data-rich facial video complete with time code. Now in its 5th generation, the HMCS is capable of capturing up to 7 million pixels per second for incredible performance fidelity. It is available for rent or purchase.
ANALYZE: Faceware Analyzer is a new product offering from Faceware Technologies. It allows customers to analyze facial performances captured with the HMCS or other video capturing technology for a small processing fee only. The animator “trains” Faceware Analyzer to learn about the actor’s specific appearance and performance, and the software uses that information to analyze every frame of the video. All tracking is handled on site, so no assets or IP leave the studio. Once the shot is tracked, computer vision algorithms parameterize the data to examine every pixel of facial data in the performance and to create an IMPD file that can then be used in Faceware Retargeter.
CREATE: The updated Faceware Retargeter is a free tool that takes the IMPD file created in Analyzer and transfers the data onto the 3D model. With a newly designed front end and a handful of new features, Faceware Retargeter creates a more complete blocking of the animation and gives animators more time to polish the performance with realistic facial movements. The Retargeter can be used on any type of facial rig, and plugs into many different software packages (Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage, MotionBuilder), letting the animator work in a familiar environment and workflow.
Faceware Analyzer and Retargeter are free to evaluate and can be downloaded directly from Faceware’s website, www.facewaretech.com. Both come with a free IMPD Performance Library and Rig Library, to help users get up to speed faster. The Faceware HMCS is available for rent or purchase. For more information, please contact email@example.com.