Cubic Motion has launched Persona. It’s a new facial animation that lets actors portray “high-fidelity digital characters” in real-time.
Persona continually captures and translates the actor’s performance to a computer-generated character. It allows for immediate animations in real-time engines like Unreal 4. This kind of technology is groundbreaking. Not only does this open the door for more compelling computer-generated performances, but it also opens up an entirely new form of entertainment. Game companies could live-stream their computer-generated characters and have their actors react in real time to things like user comments. You could literally ask Lara Croft about her adventures and she could answer you. And it doesn’t stop at video game characters. Anyone want to talk to Thanos?
Our advanced computer vision techniques allow Persona to capture an actor’s performance with stunning accuracy and detail. Resulting animated characters are able to respond and engage with real-world events immediately. Whether it’s for immediate broadcast, live installations, virtual production or offline animation, Persona will provide you with faithful replication of the actor’s performance,” says Cubic Motion.
Let’s take a look at what makes all of this possible
Persona’s helmet-mount camera – HMC – is designed to be capable of “delivering consistent, accurate capture over prolonged periods of time,” claims HMC. It features a front-facing and profile camera configuration with adjustable, inbuilt infrared lighting. The HMC is said to accurately record even super subtle facial expressions and poses. Furthermore, the onboard timecode electronics allow for controlled motion capture, in-sync with all of the other elements of the shoot.
Actor to CG character
Cubic Motion calls its on-body computing appliance “Performance Pipeline.” It captures and solves facial performances to a CG character. The Performance Pipeline is a lightweight, battery-powered piece of hardware. It can be either tethered or wireless. Also, it comes with a flexible harness. This allows the actor more freedom when acting, which is always a great thing.
Additionally, the pipeline provides full capture capability, meaning that all video and animation data can be reused after live events or polished before the final broadcast.
Cubic Motion’s ‘Identity System’ works with a machine learning algorithm that matches a purpose-built tracking model for the actor with a bespoke solver for the character rig. Additionally, by analyzing both the actor’s facial features and capabilities of the character rig, Persona can interpret the unique qualities of this pairing and more accurately transfer a performance into the digital world, according to Cubic Motion.
There’s also a GUI application with Persona called “Performance Manager.” It allows users to remotely monitor each actor and configure their performance. Also, actors are automatically detected and tracked.
With Persona, Cubic Motion is taking a leading role in advancing motion capture tech. It is crazy to think that it isn’t unrealistic for a CG character to host a YouTube channel and answer questions in a live-stream. What Cubic Motion has accomplished just makes us even more excited for the content that’s to come using this and similar technology.