Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Avatar" Facial Mo-Cap Team T-Shirt! And Who Exactly is Doing the "Avatar" Facial Capture Work?

Michael here.  I recently got a hold of another Avatar t-shirt (see three more Avatar shirts--exclusively shown to MarketSaw--here, here, and here!), this one with the words "Avatar facial capture team" on the front in green, and green dots forming a face on the back.

Seeing this shirt brings up a question - how is facial capture being handled on Avatar? As we reported back in August, Image Metrics has some kind of working relationship with the Avatar team, as demonstrated by the following quote from Jon Landau, which, up until recently, was featured under "What Our Clients Say" on the Image Metrics website:

"Image Metrics’ revolutionary technologies for performance-driven character animation require neither complex motion-capture hardware, nor specialist technical knowledge. Their animation solutions put the performer at the heart of the process, dramatically enhancing the creativity and reducing post-production time. It is this type of innovation that will again allow us to present to the consumer, stories that could not otherwise be told." 

What, then, to make of all the dots on this t-shirt, when Image Metrics' claim to fame is their system's ability to capture facial movements without the use of dots and markers?  

Is another company doing Avatar facial capture work, in addition to Image Metrics?

Hopefully, no matter how the facial capture is being done, Cameron and his team will be able to successfully cross the Uncanny Valley.

If anyone out there would like to shed some light on this, please chime in below or send us an email!  Also, if you worked on Avatar and have any cool crew gear that you'd like to show off, we'd love to see it!

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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