Facial Motion Capture In Unreal Engine Can Now Be Done With Any Camera

Faceware Technologies announced a new plugin for Unreal Engine 4 called Faceware Live that was co-developed with Opaque Multimedia, a company from Australia. Faceware Live will make motion capture of facial movements and expressions possible with any video camera. Faceware makes markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions, and Opaque Multimedia developed the Kinect 4 Unreal plugin, which enables use of the Microsoft Kinect 2 in UE4. Together, the companies are now bringing facial capture technology to developers using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4.

Real-Time Animation

Faceware Live captures the live video and converts it instantly into data that can be used by the Unreal Engine to animate digital characters. Developers will be able to take the captured movements of an actor and immediately apply those actions to characters in real-time using the Unreal Personal animation system. Faceware has its own Pro HD Headcam system that has a camera mounted to a helmet that points at the face of the person wearing it, but the company said any video source can be used, including a webcam. The company said that it uses Image Metrics' Live driver technology, which lets Faceware Live operate in almost any lighting condition.

Live Shows

Faceware said the motion capture technology can be used for games and movies, but the more interesting application for this technology is in live animated interactive events. The technology has the ability to track unlimited characters at once, and calibration can be done in one click for any actor. The company sees many possibilities with live concert events and other such shows. Faceware didn't go into specifics, but mentioned that several as yet unannounced projects will debut this year that make use of the Faceware Live plugin.

The company did not have detailed pricing available and encouraged those interested to contact its sales team or visit the Faceware booth at SIGGRAPH this week, though a quick browse of the company's website indicated that software licenses start at under $400, while complete turn-key systems with hardware included can cost tens of thousands. Rentals are also available, with the option of an on-site professional to help with the process.

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 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.