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Image Metrics May Revolutionize Facial Animation 99

iStorm writes, "I've been interested in computer animation for a long time and have recently started cracking down on my studies in an effort to eventually move myself from hobbyist to professional... then I find this article about Image Metrics, which can map an actor's emoting onto a generated face or onto the image of another actor, living or dead. How does a seasoned animator view this sort of push ahead in technology? If so much of the creative process is made so easy, where's the need for traditional animators spending exponentially larger amounts of time to create work of equal or lesser quality? How did animators view motion capture when it first appeared? Will there still be room for creativity if this tech comes to fruition?" The article doesn't say what kind of time or processing power Image Metrics's "high-fidelity, performance-driven facial animation" requires.
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Image Metrics May Revolutionize Facial Animation

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  • In my day.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:14PM (#16456883)
    We did all our art in MacPaint. We only had the basics mind, a line tool, a square tool, but we didn't complain.
    • ...we hacked off the fingers of our enemies the Cro Magnon and painted in red with them on cave walls to show off our victories: truly DIGITal art! MacPaint was only black and white!
      • Luxury! We would have killed to be able to use someone else's parts: we had to leave our own dead chalky bodies, generation after generation over thousands of years, to produce any art. Granted, back in the day art lasted longer, not like this newfangled "digital" stuff. Pah.
    • We did all our art in MacPaint. We only had the basics mind, a line tool, a square tool, but we didn't complain.
      Feh. Younguns. In my day all we had were grunts and wild body movements, and you had to convey them to your audience in real time. Later we found we could make marks on cave walls, and the graffiti started to really distract from the conversation.
  • Mo-Cap (Score:4, Informative)

    by AoT ( 107216 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:14PM (#16456895) Homepage Journal
    My roommate is a digital animator and if his comments are worth anything then Mo-Cap is not all it's cracked up to be. This new great thing may end up there, where it can map facial expression but does it in a way that isn't quite right looking to the human eye, thus requiring hours and hours of cleanup afterwards.

    I think it'll be a while before the industry starts putting out photo realistic digital animations of people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My roommate is a digital animator and if his comments are worth anything then Mo-Cap is not all it's cracked up to be

      Here's how it works. You employ animators to animate humans, or you use mocap. Suppose mocap produces better results. How likely are the animators to admit it?

      The truth is that good results often require a blend of human animation and mocap, But dealing with mocap is more technical than just hand animating. So for most artists mocap is hard to do well, and less interesting. So artists bi

      • by baglunch ( 11210 )
        As a biased observer (cg animator), I'd say that realistic animation and exaggerated animation both have valuable roles to fill. In a live-action movie, you don't want the CG to look like CG, so you want realism, but in a Toy Story, or an Ice Age, etc. you would be bored to tears with realistic animation. Imagine how lame bugs bunny would be if he could only do what an actor against a blue screen could do. Could only portray the amount of emotion an actor with locator dots on his face could show. There'
        • There's going to be a place for realism and for exaggeration.

          There's room for all kinds of things. But sometimes the wrong decisions seem to get made. For example the Spiderman movies have some really amazing mocap that looks indistinguishable from an actor in a suit, but the exaggerations can look terrible, especially the rubbery Spiderman swinging through the streets in a really unnatural looking way. On the other hand, mocap would probably look just wrong in a Pixar production. What we rwally need are

    • by Alef ( 605149 )

      I think it'll be a while before the industry starts putting out photo realistic digital animations of people.

      No doubt. Animating people is a tricky subject, especially when trying to do it automatically. Humans are incredibly good at recognising biological motion and particularly facial expressions. Not surprising from an evolutionary perspective, I guess: watching out for dangerous animals, looking for game and reading body language (for communication with strangers, knowing when someone is ill etc.) h

      • mocap isn't an 'either or' solution - no matter what, with mocap there is a LOT of cleanup work involved in order to make those animations loop & production ready. it is a rare situation where you'd be able to use raw mocap data directly in a project without cleanup. automated solutions for cleanup can remove the very 'human-ness' of the animation that you were looking to achieve with the mocap in the first place.

        this is like any advance in any industry - mocap provides a POTENTIAL time-saving alterna
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In Soviet Russia, article writes YOU!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:16PM (#16456919)
    I doubt that this technique will knock animators or traditional animation out of business. Animation is art. Did the video camera kill painting? Did the internet kill reading?

    Animation from an animator gives it style, and feeling just as much as an actor does. Just watch any old Disney cartoon if you want to see the flow of such animation.
    • Did the internet kill reading?

      Are you new here?

      Seriously, though, I would have responded the the point you were making, but I just got caught up on that one sentence.

    • No, it killed the Radio Star.

      Film at 11.

    • by zen611 ( 903428 )
      And as with most things: its the content, not the technology used to derive the content.
    • Did the internet kill reading?

      No just, grammar and speling.

    • I doubt that this technique will knock animators or traditional animation out of business. Animation is art. Did the video camera kill painting? Did the internet kill reading?

      Did CDs make Vinyl manufacturing go out of business?

      Most of them to make a difference, but some are around...

      But if you haven't noticed... When was the last hand drawn animation released in the theaters? I can't remember, but we've had like 5 CGI movies in the paste year or two.

      Much like the old vinyl manufactures, hand drawn animation
    • This technology simply adds more virtual mo-cap nodes to an actor's face. That is the only thing new here - insead of the previous' technology (Polar Express et. al.) with hundreds of sensors, this simulates thousands or more. It is still mo-cap though!!!

      Quality animation REQUIRES a skilled animator's touch - the more these companies try to create animation without the artist, the further they get from quality art. Look at how Pixar can make nearly abstract objects and characters emote, without any mo-ca
    • by Malkin ( 133793 )
      Agree with parent. To say that human artists are making work of "equal or lesser quality" is to miss the point of art, entirely. In fact, I highly suggest that the original poster go play Okami for a couple of hours. Then, he can gain some insight into why true artists are in no way threatened by technologies like this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Animation from an animator gives it style, and feeling just as much as an actor does. Just watch any old Disney cartoon if you want to see the flow of such animation."

      Another issue is that much animation we see is not very realistic to begin with, it does not obey the laws of physics. Most animation is exagerated to look good and for visual, visceral and emotional impact, in fact most animation is not real. If you look at the real world many real world animated things are in fact... boring. Some of the
    • by orasio ( 188021 )
      CGI seems to have knocked old Disney animators out of their Florida studio.
      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/01/15/023322 8 [slashdot.org]

      New kinds of animations could leave current animators without a job, and employ others.

      Of course, these animators could learn the skills to do mocap finishing, but propbably they don't like their jobs.

  • How did painters view photographic technology when it first appeared?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EaglemanBSA ( 950534 )
      Picasso said "I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn." Painting and other forms of art, however, are not dead. Keep in mind that for Finding Nemo, artists actually strived to make such entities as the whale, etc. less real, for the sake of the style the wanted to show. Animation/art isn't always about making something seem real.
      • Animation/art isn't always about making something seem real.

        That doesn't preclude the use of facial animation software. Just animate Keanu Reaves face and - voila! complete lack of believability!

    • by Speare ( 84249 )

      Around the renaissance, before the impressionist movement, realism was a highly prized aspect of painting. Most of the "commercial art" was oil paintings done on commission, and it was either "my niece, my soldier, or my serving dishes." Many painters roughed out the composition in a cost-effective way with camera obscura techniques or simple lentography, with the subject in a lit room and the canvas in a darkened room, and a pinhole or lens in a curtain between them.

      Those who had a job to do embraced

    • How did painters view photographic technology when it first appeared?

      Once people really embraced photography, it was a great thing for the art world, because painters were no longer burdened with the expectectation of reproducing reality. This freedom paved the way for abstract expressionism and dada.
  • Not Yet... (Score:2, Informative)

    by TFer_Atvar ( 857303 )
    Humans hold human characters to a higher standard than other CGI. It's part of the reason why Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life, and Over the Hedge have focused mainly on non-human characters or a cartoon-like story. When a more "adult" story is tried, as with Final Fantasy, the technology still comes up short. It's a step in the right direction, but until you can't discriminate between a CGI actor and a real one, this isn't going to be used in "serious" movies.
    • by Amouth ( 879122 )
      Fianl Fantasy - Advent Children rocked.. and even the first movie was gery good.. one think you had to look at is how long it took them to render the first one verses the second..

      give it 5 more years and we will have it if we want it
    • Like Star Wars? The Matrix? Lord of the Rings?
  • None of these new techs are 100% plug in solutions, they often require a lot of personal time with someone who knows what they're doing. Further a lot of animation is fluid melding of one animation sequence to the next which can often be difficult to automate.

    I don't see the face mapping tech being much more different then mo-cap just on a smaller level. If anything proceduaral synthesis will bring the biggest changes to animation, but you'll still need people to code even that.
  • Not to worry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corroncho ( 1003609 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:19PM (#16456961)
    Crappy acting will still be crappy acting. Just like the foley artist is still happily employed enhancing the audio soundtrack (either digitally or old fashined foot stomping). The animator will remain gainfully employed improving and enhancing the final product.
    ___________________________
    Free iPods? Its legit [wired.com] and simple [feedroom.com]. 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! [freepay.com]
  • Didn't they use this (or maybe they were going to but never did) when the actor who played Dumbledore died? I thought i remembered reading that they were going to map the dead actors face onto the new actor?
  • If so much of the creative process is made so easy, where's the need for traditional animators spending exponentially larger amounts of time to create work of equal or lesser quality?

    Short answer: Polar Express. Just compare this movie to any Pixar feature and you know the answer.
    • by nasch ( 598556 )
      Not sure where you're going with this. First, neither Polar Express nor Pixar uses the technology from the article, so the comparison isn't relevant. Second, I didn't enjoy Polar Express as much as any Pixar movie. I'm assuming your point is that the animation in PE is much more life-like than Pixar's work. So if that doesn't (necessarily) make for a better movie, we're back to the original question: what need for spending huge time and money on better animation?
      • Go to the company's Flash site [image-metrics.com], hit 'Productions', then 'Films'.

        "Image Metrics assisted in the making of Polar Express and are currently working on a number of major projects soon to be publicly announced."

        Polar Express: this facial mo-cap technology. (albiet an earlier version)
        Pixar: animators building each scene.

        So I think Salzbrot's point was that we need to spend time and money on better animation if we want animated films that aren't full of creepy wax dolls, because their flagship use of this technolo
        • So I think Salzbrot's point was that we need to spend time and money on better animation if we want animated films that aren't full of creepy wax dolls, because their flagship use of this technology lost all the subtelties that a human cares about.

          I don't think it's so much a matter of subleties but consistency. Pixar's movies aren't photorealistic. They are 3D cartoons. Your brains happily fill in missing detail to cartoon characters, as long as the hints are there. But confuse the brain about whether

        • by nasch ( 598556 )
          I guess it depends which apples we're comparing. Motion capture was used in PE, but not the new variety that the article is about. At any rate I see your point now and I agree with Salzbrot (I'm taking your word that that's who wrote it!) that it's clear there's still value in non-motion-capture animation. What threw me off is the implication that mo-cap is cheap and fast comparatively. I understand PE cost something like $100 million to make. I guess the whole point of this new technology is make it f
  • Rendering Time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:24PM (#16457041)
    The article doesn't say what kind of time or processing power Image Metrics's "high-fidelity, performance-driven facial animation" requires

    I don't care how much processing power it takes, unless we are talking simulation on the level of some of the whole-world-weather simulations any additional processing will be a drop in the bucket compared to the current amount of time and processing power already devoted to any production quality animation.
  • The evolution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:25PM (#16457053) Homepage
    How does a seasoned animator view this sort of push ahead in technology? If so much of the creative process is made so easy, where's the need for traditional animators spending exponentially larger amounts of time to create work of equal or lesser quality?

    Technology usually advances so that it is not only more advanced, but also more efficient. It's fairly obvious that Hollywood studios (just an example) would want cheap CGI, and since there's a need for this to happen, there's also someone working on making that happen.

    A skilled animator shouldn't be worried, however. Creativity is hard to replace with software and someone will always have to create whatever's portraited. How it's done and how fast is a different question.
    • We have algorithmetically generated art or literature that has to convince users' software filters that the users would be entertained by it?
    • Technology usually advances so that it is not only more advanced, but also more efficient. It's fairly obvious that Hollywood studios (just an example) would want cheap CGI, and since there's a need for this to happen, there's also someone working on making that happen.

      I wonder how much cheaper it would really be. Yes, your animators will probably save time, but won't you have to have "face actors" standing by to give the animator various "happy faces" to work with, or something? And then the animator w

  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:34PM (#16457201)
    I've been doing 3D character animation for well over a decade, and I've also been exposed to automated facial animation systems including mocap (in many of it's various forms) over the years. I actually think mocap is not bad for certain applications, particularly whole body stuff like athletics. If you really want that golf swing to look like Tiger Woods in his video game, then mocapping him is a very valid option.

    What it's not good at, however, is animating the face. People have been trained since birth to observe human faces and we're experts. It makes us very aware of anything that's unnatural. Only a human who innately understands the subtleties of human emotions can truly finesse facial animation so it looks pleasing to the human eye. An animator is just that type of person. We study facial expression, musculature and all sorts of things, then combine it with acting skills and artistic knowledge to make a result that's looks pleasing to the eye (or not.. depending on budgets and deadlines - and I suspect this technology will filter down to the low end productions that don't care as much about the final results)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nasch ( 598556 )
      Only a human who innately understands the subtleties of human emotions can truly finesse facial animation so it looks pleasing to the human eye.
      You're saying this technology could never become good enough to copy a human face well enough to be indistinguishable to a human observer? Or are you saying something else?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If he is saying that it couldn't fool a human, I would agree. While I've seen static images that are startingly realistic-looking, I have yet to see animation that gets anywhere near the far edge of the Uncanny Valley.

        That's why we will continue, for a long time, to see animation like The Incredibles, who don't look even the slightest real, but have very convincing expressions and poses.

        People will keep trying, and eventually succeed to duplicate photorealistic animated human expression, but I give it 10 y
    • by CandyMan ( 15493 )
      > People have been trained since birth to observe human faces and we're experts. It makes us very aware of anything that's unnatural.

      Apparently recognising facial expressions is not learned, but innate [mindhacks.com], and males and females have evolved different strategies to recognise emotional faces [futurepundit.com].

      Otherwise, I completely agree. Animating faces is a Turing-complete (as in Turing's test, not Turing Machine) problem, that will only be achieved by machines when/if they achieve full humanlike intelligence.
  • A few thoughts. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hullabalucination ( 886901 ) * on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:39PM (#16457273) Journal
    If so much of the creative process is made so easy, where's the need for traditional animators spending exponentially larger amounts of time to create work of equal or lesser quality?

    Here's a quote, usually attributed to the WWI German flying ace, Baron Von Richthofen:

    "It's not the crate...it's the man inside the crate."

    I'm gonna ask you to ponder this and extrapolate to the imagined quandary you propose. Also, I'm going to leave you with a bit of personal history:

    I started in the graphic design business back in the early 70's, when a well-stocked "micro-studio" would set you back about around $50,000 (in 1974 dollars) for equipment, which included: a digital typesetter, process camera, film/paper photo processor, drafting table, waxer, light table...plus a few other lesser (though expensive) goodies. A decade later, inexpensive (relatively) personal computers with laser printers and scanners could be had for less than $10,000, essentially replacing my studio gear. Meaning every small business on the planet could suddenly be competing with me in the graphic design biz on some level. Predictably, a whole bunch of them tried. Did it put all the typographers/designers/pre-press craftsmen out of business? Well, it separated the wheat from the chaff, certainly, casting adrift the bottom 20% (subjective talent evaluation on my part) of the professional industry. It also produced an explosion of amazingly awful graphic design/typography, produced by folks whose accountants convinced them to attempt to save money by doing it themselves. However, those of us who actually had some skills/talent/Mojo actually thrived, selling our work by pitching the client on a comparison of our stuff to the examples of sub-par work that resulted from trying to replace talent with technology. Yes, I pitched a lot of FUD back then, showing a potential client the absolute worst examples of things produced by People Who Really Shouldn't Be Allowed to Touch Photoshop. Only...maybe it really wasn't really FUD. 'Cause when you objectively look at it, the good Baron's quote still rings true:

    "It's not the crate...it's the man inside the crate."

    All the computer programs in the world, along with all the hardware in the world, don't help if you don't got that Mojo to begin with. The tools are subservient to the talent, not the other way around. At least until someone develops a keyboard with a button that says "creativity."

    * * * * *

    Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.
    --Josh Billings

  • I've worked with 3D animation off-and-on for over 10 years, including professional movie studio work. MoCap was always, at best, 90% there.

    This, however, impressed the hell out of me, especially the African Warrior. WOW!

    Is it the end-all-and-be-all of digital animation? No, but it is generations ahead of things like Polar Express.

    Just watch the video before making any judgements.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by itlives ( 1014325 )
      wow?? I've been doing character animation professionally (read: features) for 10yrs on the computer and I didnt see anything new there...and certainly nothing that made me say wow. I sure didnt think that African Warrior was very far beyond Polar Express. Every couple of years this same old hype gets dragged up and people get all excited and then the studios hit the bandwagon and make another Final Fantasy or Polar express. It sucks, the eyes are dead, and its creepy. Uncanny Valley revisited. The imporvem
      • I was very impressed with the video. Actors will be able to create desired facial annimations/expressions directly much faster and cheaper than animators, probably with no compromise at all to the directors vision.

        I'm also guessing that tweaks long after the actor finished the session are still possible.

        In a top movie, How many animator hours does it take to produce 1 second of facial animation?
    • ok, now twitch your little toe..once. Any of 'em.

        feel the muscle pull behind your ear?

        THATS what computers miss. and it'll be standard feature in two years, betcha.

      packrat2
  • However, the real challenge still remains for the actors: generating a facial expression intentionally usually does not produce the same muscle contractions that spontaneous emotions do. Thats the whole difficulty with acting, you can't make your face do what you think happens when someone is angry, you have to get angry and let your face do its thing.
    • by Clod9 ( 665325 )
      But that's exactly what's interesting about motion CAPTURE. If you can capture everything in enough detail, then you can record and store the "real" expressions by doing unexpected things to the actors in real life (e.g. Alan Rickman's face at the end of Die Hard [imdb.com], search for "get the right reaction" on that page). Instead of doing 20 takes to get everyone doing the right thing at the right time, the filmmaker can capture a real-life emotion and then blend it onto an animated character at any arbitrary point
  • Another tool. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peganthyrus ( 713645 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:44PM (#16457381) Homepage
    It's another tool.

    There will be some things it is suitable for, and some things it's useless for. I can't see this having much use in the production of a show based around drawings, for instance!

    Back during the production of "Snow White", Disney shot a lot of reference film. Some of the animators leaned heavily on this, essentially just rotoscoping the model and stylizing her a little into Snow White. Master animator Grim Natwick would refer to the first and last frames of his reference film, to make sure it hooked up properly with the adjoining scenes, and essentially ignored the rest.

    Guess whose scenes had the most life in them?

    For some purposes, the raw data out of this will be fine. For other, it's a starting point for an animator to go over, and possibly completely abandon.
  • Yeah, the article is a little sparse on details. What kind of power does it take? Is the software for sale? What are the costs associated with production? The article did allude to a time savings. This seems to be a clone of stuff they've been doing in Japan for a few years.
  • They are making a CGI version of Beowulf. Let the slashbot flogging of the demised equine that is the "imagine a Beowulf cluster" meme begin.
  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Monday October 16, 2006 @03:12PM (#16457869)
    >If so much of the creative process is made so easy, where's the need for traditional animators
    >spending exponentially larger amounts of time to create work of equal or lesser quality? How did animators
    >view motion capture when it first appeared? Will there still be room for creativity if this tech comes to fruition?"

    This sort of thing has always come along. For example, WYSIWYG applications like Front Page let people like me create web pages without knowing hardly any HTML. Suddenly /anyone/ could make a pretty good looking web page. Did a lot of web page authors bite the dust then? Sure. But the ones who remained advanced their art - now they are masters not just of HTML but PHP, AJAX, JAVA, Flash, and a host of other cutting-edge web functionalities.

    Computer Aided Drafting did the same thing to mechanical drafters who worked on drawing boards with pencil and paper.

    That's kind of the point of technology - to make what were once difficult or tedious expenditures of effort become effortless. Talented people who specialized in those old efforts will have to move on to tackle new things that are still difficult. There's always a new cutting edge.

    Steve
  • Exaggeration (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Most good animations exaggerate the motions of the characters to add life and energy. On screen, having everything turned up a notch above what it would be in the real world helps convey the message you're going for. And of course facial expressions are included in all of that. Using mocap only captures reality(or at least it tries to) and doesn't allow for any freedom to exaggerate things as the animator sees fit. And even if you wanted to start with mocap and build in some other motion from there, it
  • p0rn (Score:2, Funny)

    by Gospodin ( 547743 )

    Thousands of p0rn "actresses" just lost their jobs.

    I can't believe I'm the first person in this thread to realize this!

  • Mapping from one human onto another is not that hard compared to what real animators have done.

    How does a bunch of mops become an unstoppable force?

    How do you make a lion comforting?

    What makes a toy ballon menacing?
  • Maybe someday studios will realize that CG blows no matter how good it is-- it will never make a film "worth seeing". Granted, good CG brings people into the box office. That's probably all studios care about.

    OTOH, I would rather see a nice CG recreation of Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore than the guy they have now. The difference is so striking as to be disconcerting-- for a Potter fan, that is. Harris was the bomb.
  • Eventually everything will be done by computers and robots. Why deny the inevitable? Just sit back and enjoy, until they take over, at which point we're screwed anyway.
  • Say... Keanu Reeves. Since he's only got one facial expression, all you need is a camera and... well, that's it.
  • Wouldn't it be cool to make new episodes of Star Trek TOS using this technology? If you coupled it with voice synthesis, you could have Bones and Scotty right in the mix. Maybe the producers could save enough on actor's salaries to pay to get some writers!

  • One reason why animation that doesn't use an actor's work may persist is that it won't run into the licensing fees, or whatever they'll be calling them in the brave new world. I'm sure in-demand actors will charge suitably exorbitant rates for the use of their emoting skills. Or, more likely, their names.
  • My Dad, an Amiga buff up to the day of his death, always said that we would know computer animation was truly mature when someone could make a new John Wayne movie that would be indistinguishable from an original. Sounds like someone might be able to pull it off with this technology.
  • Actually, there's nothing new or revolutionary about this. Eyetronics's LiquidFaces tool was capable of doing these things over 3 years ago. See: http://www.eyetronics.com/ [eyetronics.com]
  • The purpose for making an animated movie in the first place is generally NOT to create something that is difficult or impossible to tell if it is real or not. The value of animation is to be able to go outside the realm of reality. Looking back at recent history, (e.g. Southpark, the Simpsons), often the most successful animation projects have some of the least life-like appearance. There will always be a need for creative artists. The tools just help with the grunge work (tweening, etc.).
  • This is a step up from Polar Express, but it looks like we need another step or two before it's good enough. Heck, Gollum didn't have that "slow motion" problem that this seems to have. Then again, the clip of Fred and Ethel looked pretty good.
  • I didn't see the video, but the screenshot they're showing in the article looks like ass. I'm studying 3d animation and a few things are okay, such as the mouth shape, the jaw, and the pressing inward cheeks. But the eyes and eyebrows are terrible. Just look how the eyebrows on the 3d model don't curve outward from the eyes, the eyes are also just the standard shapes instead of exagerated larger (lower and upper eyelids should be pulling open further). Plus where's the folds in the skin for the brow? It's
  • Stepping aside from animation for film, what about the use of this technology as an interface for transfering fine facial details into a virtual space? It would be interesting to write the interpreter/translator between this technology and online avatars, both human and non human. And yes, I am a furry. Thinking about seeing a smile on my face reflected in a canine ear and tail "smile" in second life makes me happy..... Rowanyote

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