We just got our of a presentation of MotionScan, the new facial animation tech being developed by Depth Analysis, which is being used in the upcoming Team Bondi videogame LA Noire.
To put it simply, the tech is a literal game changer. No longer to actors faces have to be covered with markers – MotionScan uses 32 HD cameras to capture true-to-life three-dimensional performances at up to 30 fps. It's capable of capturing up to 50 minutes of final footage and processing up to 20 minutes of facial animation automatically per day. No markers or phosphorescent paint need be applied, and no manpower is required to clean up data and animate the finer details by hand after the shoot. An additional advantage is that directors can view a performance from any angle, and re-light it in any way with the press of a button.
Quite simply, it's going to revolutionise traditional motion capture if it takes off the way we expect it to. The technology can capture every tick, every subtle nuance, every flicker of the eye, and every emotional mannerism conveyed in an actor's performance. Not to mention the wrinkles, creases and even make-up applied to the actor's face. MotionScan will put the Uncanny Valley far, far behind us.
It's going to be particularly revolutionary with regard to LA Noire, a game in which players must determine whether an NPC is lying, telling the truth, or simply trying to avoid answering your questions. The performances we were shown were emotionally moving and sincere.
The applications of the tech are clear, with games like Heavy Rain clearly able to benefit from its applications. We're always asking that videogames affect us on an emotional level. MotionScan is just one piece of tech that's going to help pave the way.