Computer Graphics World

September / October 2017

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s e p t e m b e r . o c t o b e r 2 0 1 7 c g w 2 9 ally resonant aspect of the experience. And it was Faceware's hardware and soware solutions that were key in capturing the subtleties of Grace's emotions, building a sympathetic connection between digital creation and human viewer, Scott notes. "The face needed to be the most com- pelling part of this emotional experience – viewers needed to read her expressions," affirms Scott. " 'Grace" was essentially a tech demo, but we also wanted it to be more than that. It had to be something that had a life, which you could completely relate to." Constructing Grace meant relying on the talents of a real-life model: Grace Holiday, a champion pole dancer, who choreographed and performed the dance routine that was motion captured. Pole dancing requires skin to be in con- tact with the metal at almost all times for stability and grip, so it was essential that Holiday not be overloaded with markers or gear while performing the routine. To this end, Faceware's lightweight ProHD Head- cam soware was able to complete the job without hassle. Using a Faceware ProHD Headcam to capture Holiday's facial performance and reactions, Scott could record local data while transmitting it to nearby computers, enabling the team to direct her performance and vocalizations in real time. Meanwhile, a Vicon system was used to capture Holiday's body movements in a separate zone. The two systems worked together simultaneously throughout to capture the entire performance. At times, the headset was removed to allow for unencumbered movement while dancing around the pole, but the MacInnes Scott crew could fill in any blanks aer the fact. Otherwise, Scott says the facial per- formance witnessed in "Grace" is the real mocapped performance without blending or modification – simply transplanted onto the digital body of a dancing android. "It's her; it's a pure human performance of an incredible athlete taken to a whole other level," Scott says. "You feel like you're in a room with somebody performing something that most people will never be able to do. That's one of those things that just gives you energy when you're watching it." GRACEFUL RESULTS Once the performance was captured, the group easily transported the facial data into Faceware's Analyzer and Retargeter, and applied Holiday's facial expressions to the animation rig, with help from Epic's Unreal Engine. "It was a one-man show," recalls Scott. "What was extremely impressive right out of the gate were the eyes; Faceware's cap- ture tech nailed them 100 percent. I did no work on those eyes. "I was really thankful because Grace is tracking this ball as it's moving around in 3D, and her head is moving," he continues. "To deal with that manually would have been extremely difficult." While Scott has ample experience using all sorts of performance-capture solutions, "Grace" marked his first time using Faceware. He says he was not only pleasantly surprised by its ease of use, but also how it enabled him to keep a lean team on this quick-turnaround project. In fact, Scott had a first pass completed within the day and spent only two more days on fine-tuning elements such as the lips and mouth. FACING THE FUTURE "Grace" made its debut at Los Angeles' VRLA expo in 2016, the world's largest virtual- and augmented-reality convention. HTC has since licensed "Grace" to demon- strate the Vive's potential at pitches and events. MacInnes Scott also plans to release "Grace" online, enabling Vive users across the world to experience it, and potentially inspiring more creators to push creative boundaries within VR. MacInnes Scott continues to innovate in the ever-expanding VR and AR worlds. At the time of writing, the studio had other VR experiences in the works, including E.K.I.A. Osama Bin Laden and Too Soon?, a weekly parody series about Donald Trump in the White House. Go to for tips on using Faceware for similar projects.

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