Faceware's CEO Anthony Severini has told us how the company's Faceware Portal captures and processes facial motion data and explained how it can be used by Animators to simplify their workflows.
80.lv: Could you tell us about Faceware Portal? What is the core idea behind this project?
Anthony Severini, CEO of Faceware: Our main objective in developing Faceware Portal is to allow studios to exponentially increase the amount of facial animation they can produce – without having to change their budget. One of the key benefits of Portal is that it gives teams the ability to review their facial animation in moments instead of days.
Our other objective with Faceware Portal was to eliminate the technical challenges of facial tracking. Animators can now focus on the artistic side of the process, letting them do what they are trained to do – create great facial animation.
With all of the hours that Faceware Portal saves through its AI-based technology and automation tools, studios can create and iterate on more content than they ever thought possible.
Capturing and Processing the Data
80.lv: How can users capture the initial data? Are there some particular requirements?
Anthony Severini: The very best way is to utilize the Faceware Mark IV Head Mounted Capture system. This has been designed from the ground up to be a perfect compliment to Faceware Portal, providing stable, high quality, low distortion facial video.
But if you don’t have access to a head-mount capture system, Faceware Portal can accept a wide variety of facial video data. What Portal needs for the capture is just even, diffuse lighting, a stable image, and square framing. You can use a DSLR, a webcam, or even your phone to get started.
80.lv: How does Portal process the captured data? What is the process? How long does it take?
Anthony Severini: Faceware Portal processes facial data using our proprietary AI facial tracking technology. The process is incredibly simple. Upload captured data to the service, and Portal does the rest. Where traditional capture could take hours to days to see results, Portal can turn a video around in as little as 30 seconds for an average 10 second clip.
80.lv: What do users get? How can you use animation data from Portal?
Anthony Severini: Currently, animation data is returned to users in two formats. First, Portal creates a pass of procedural animation – that is, a completely automatic set of animation curves. The procedural animation is in .JSON format and can be parsed and mapped to a character in any game engine or DCC.
Secondly, we provide a proprietary file type – the .FWR (Faceware Retargeting File). This file is meant to be used with our Faceware Retargeter software, which is a plugin for Autodesk products. The .FWR file contains extremely high-quality facial data and allows the user to build a bespoke animation model through its pose-based retargeting system. Thousands of studios around the world rely on Retargeter to create high-fidelity, lifelike facial animation and Faceware Portal makes it faster and easier than ever to get started.