Bringinng Photorealistic, AI-Powered Characters to The Quarry

VFX studio Digital Domain shared how The Quarry's characters were brought to the screen.

Supermassive Games, the creator behind Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures, has recently released a new interactive drama horror video game, The Quarry. To bring the game to life, the studio has teamed up with VFX studio Digital Domain which helped Supermassive Games create the visual immersive experience and lifelike-looking characters.

The game features more than 180 endings and every player's action influences the storyline, so the characters were needed to have realistic reactions to every event throughout the story, reflecting every nuance and emotion – that's when Digital Domain's technology came in handy.

The studio first had to conduct a series of facial scans of every cast member to get an accurate template to work from and provide Supermassive Games with the looks for the in-game characters. Then Digital Domain captured the cast's performances and after 42 days of mocap shoot, they eventually got 32 hours of footage which was later used during the next steps of production.

The data gathered at the mocap shoot was processed using Masquerade 2.0, the system that utilizes machine learning to create a photorealistic CG version of the performance and fully animate it. So, in this stage, The Quarry's characters received realistic facial movements and emotive reactions.

However, while this technology produced film-quality digital characters, it wasn't enough for The Quarry as it is an interactive game that requires editing the digital characters in real-time as well as having those edited results to be ready to go straight away without the need for additional touch-ups from artists.

To solve this problem, Digital Domain had to create new technology and after some time it introduced Chatterbox. Chatterbox is a new tool developed by the company's internal Digital Human Group which is powered by machine learning to analyze live-action facial expressions unique to each performer and determine the best possible options to alter facial expressions.

With the help of Chatterbox paired with Masquerade 2.0, Digital Domain was able to access the library of facial expressions from each cast member to upload the characters and edit them directly in a game engine.

"Creating high-quality, photorealistic visual effects used to be unique to feature films, but the technology has evolved," said Digital Domain's global president John Fragomeni. "And given our decades of history and ongoing success, we are in a unique position to bring professional-quality VFX to any screen."

You can learn more about the game and the technology here. Also, don't forget to join our new Reddit pageour new Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we are sharing breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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