Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

New advances in computer animation

Posted September 12, 2008

Those computer-genenerated images in film and TV don't always look that great.   Check out this clip of a new kind of computer animation from a company called Image Metrics.

More from the blog:

Researchers at a Californian company which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a 'control system'.

The team at Image Metrics - which produced the animation for the Grand Theft Auto computer game - then recreated the gestures, movement by movement, in a model. The aim was to overcome the traditional difficulties of animating a human face, for instance that the skin looks too shiny, or that the movements are too symmetrical.

"Ninety per cent of the work is convincing people that the eyes are real," Mike Starkenburg, chief operating officer of Image Metrics, said.

"The subtlety of the timing of eye movements is a big one. People also have a natural asymmetry - for instance, in the muscles in the side of their face. Those types of imperfections aren't that significant but they are what makes people look real."

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  • GulfWarVet Sep 12, 2008

    Wow. Now that's getting somewhere, for sure. Had to watch that a couple times, really. Love the overhead lighting and loose hairs on "her" head. I'll be really impressed when they can program different personality types... with all the nervous quirks, mannerisms, etc... without having to capture video of a performing actor to digitally mimic. Just set the personality type in the modeling attributes and the behaviors of the model pick points would respond accordingly. Now that's the next generation of cgi I'd like to see! Emotions would definately be more life-like. Although, it could be a two edged sword... we'd possibly lose a quality in today's animation... and that's individual artistic style.

    Soon, we'll be watching the CGI EMMY's... hosted by CG Emily.

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WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.