The astounding breakthrough has been revealed at the computer graphics convention Siggraph in LA and is set to revolutionise the way characters will look in games.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and the Imperial College London, we might be passing through the uncanny valley, and into a whole new world of realistic computer graphics.
The two companies have developed a brilliant new method of capturing the subtle deformations of human skin as it changes organically. At the moment, motion capture is the preferred way of creating faces in video games as it picks up all the nuances that an animator might miss, but it’s not perfect.
This groundbreaking technique captures an actor’s face at a resolution of 10 microns in a specially designed rig, allowing for pin point accuracy down to the pores in the skin. Using custom software, the captured image is then transferred directly onto the artificial skin of a CG character.
The final goal here is to have a system that perfectly simulates human skin on its own without the need for actors, creating completely lifelike, yet totally fictitious characters. There’s no denying the possibilities are astounding with this tech, but it’s difficult to know when we’ll see it used practically in video games.
If you think you can wrap your head around the science behind all this, check out the USC Institute for Creative Technologies website for more information, and updates on their progress with the project.
Mark is the Gaming Editor for UNILAD. Having grown up a gaming addict, he’s been deeply entrenched in culture and spends time away from work playing as much as possible. Mark studied music at University and found a love for journalism through going to local gigs and writing about them for local and national publications.