Real­lu­sion’s fa­cial mo­cap so­lu­tion for the iphone X

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| | PRICE $299/£230 ap­prox (not in­clud­ing iclone 7 or Mo­tion LIVE plugin) DEVEL­OPER Real­lu­sion WEB­SITE www.real­lu­ L ive Face is Real­lu­sion’s lat­est mark­er­less fa­cial mo­cap so­lu­tion for iclone 7. It’s an app specif­i­cally for the iphone X that uses the phone’s depth sen­sor and track­ing soft­ware to track the user’s face and stream the data into iclone through Real­lu­sion’s Mo­tion LIVE plugin. Fa­cial an­i­ma­tion can be pre­viewed and recorded in real time on sin­gle or mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters. It can also be per­formed whilst cap­tur­ing an­i­ma­tion (for the body and hands as well as the face) from other mo­cap sys­tems.

I’ve used many dif­fer­ent fa­cial mo­cap sys­tems over the years, marker based and mark­er­less, and while none are per­fect, the iphone X/live Face ap­proach is re­mark­ably sta­ble and easy to use ‘out of the box’. The depth sen­sor ap­proach means it’s tol­er­ant of un­even and low light­ing con­di­tions, and the fact that the cap­ture it­self is per­formed on the phone rather than the PC means it’s ef­fi­cient and doesn’t hog re­sources.

Head, eye and gen­eral track­ing is ef­fec­tive and while ex­pres­sion dis­tor­tions can oc­cur when the user’s head is ro­tated away from the cam­era, these are less no­tice­able than when us­ing other mark­er­less sin­gle cam­era sys­tems. There are some ex­pres­sion lim­i­ta­tions due to track­ing ac­cu­racy – no­tably with asym­met­ric mouth shapes such as snarls and also eye­brow dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, which means that rais­ing an in­di­vid­ual eye­brow is cur­rently not pos­si­ble with Live Face. Lim­i­ta­tions aside, track­ing is quite ro­bust and even cov­ers cheek ex­pan­sion – some­thing I haven’t seen with other mark­er­less sys­tems.

Lip­sync with Live Face works well by de­fault, though users can also change lip­sync qual­i­ties by cal­i­brat­ing with their mouth slightly open (to em­pha­sise mouth clo­sure), as well as by ad­just­ing strength slid­ers on the Mo­tion LIVE UI.

There’s no deny­ing that the iphone X is ex­pen­sive, and as­sum­ing you al­ready have iclone 7 and the Mo­tion LIVE in­te­grated mo­cap plugin, it will cost about £230 for the soft­ware to use the phone for fa­cial mo­cap in iclone. Even with the cost of the iphone it­self, this is good value for a ro­bust fa­cial mo­cap so­lu­tion. In fact, the com­bined cost of the phone and soft­ware is about the same as for iclone’s ex­ist­ing Face­ware sys­tem.

iphone X/live Face is a sta­ble, ef­fi­cient and easy-touse fa­cial mo­cap ap­proach, and is a prac­ti­cal ad­di­tion to the an­i­ma­tor’s tool­box. While it’s not per­fect (Ap­ple, please fix the sep­a­rate eye­brow track­ing!), it can pro­duce de­cent re­sults quickly and with min­i­mal post cleanup.

it just works: Live Face mo­cap in ac­tion us­ing de­fault set­tings (iphone X screen shown here as an over­lay)

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