Computer Graphics World

Edition 3

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Page 13 of 75

12 cgw | e d i t i o n 3 , 2 0 1 8 I n 1985, Lucasfilm created the first photorealistic CG character – the stained-glass knight – that appeared in a feature film, Young Sherlock Holmes. Even though the character had just 10 seconds of screen time, the unprecedented appearance marked the beginning of the industry's quest to cross the Uncanny Valley. Since then, there have been a number of incremental milestones in terms of realistic CG humans, including the digital background actors strolling on the deck in the movie Titanic, to the all-digital cast in the animated feature Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Each year as technology becomes more developed and sophisticated, CG anima- tors are getting that much closer to solving the problem whereby a digital model looks almost human, but not exactly, with a result that makes the viewer feel a bit uneasy. For some time, Epic Games has been working with partners to advance the state of digital human realism, particularly as it pertains to the subtleties and intricacies of motion, not only resulting in realistic CG actors, but realistic CG actors that can perform in real time. At last year's SIGGRAPH, attendees were able to "MeetMike," a real-time, interac- tive, VR tech demo whereby reporter Mike Seymour, outfitted with a facial-capture rig, interviewed various industry experts wearing VR headsets; his facial image was then transferred onto a lifelike avatar in real time. This, as the real Mike drove the actions of the digital Mike, which was rendered at 90 fps in VR via Epic's Unreal Engine. The facial images were tracked and solved with Cubic Motion's technology, while the data was relayed to the facial rig from 3Lateral. Previous to this, Epic, Cubic Motion, and 3Lateral advanced real-time animation/ performance-capture techniques for Ninja Theory's video game Hellblade: Senua's Sac- rifice, with the goal of shooting and editing CG scenes in real time – a term Epic Games' CTO Kim Libreri calls "real-time cinematog- raphy" as opposed to previsualization, since all the aspects of the scene are represented virtually on set (lighting, facial and body imagery, voice, camera, and VFX). For the title character, Ninja Theory teamed with 3Lateral and Cubic Motion to create a virtual double of actress Melina Juergens. The CG photoreal Senua – one of gaming's most believable characters – was then controlled by live performance capture and real-time HIGH-FIDELITY DIGITAL ACTOR PERFORMS IN REAL TIME BY KAREN MOLTENBREY Character Actor Character Actor

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