Activision’s Virtual Human ‘Emotion Challenge’

Published: January 9, 2018
Category: News

Detailed character animation and facial performance is increasingly becoming important for AAA Games. This is directed at both rendering realism and animation performance. Activision was founded in 1979 and was the world’s first major independent game developer. Today, Activision Blizzard is one of the largest AAA game publishers in the world. Inside the company, the Activision Central Technology team recently mounted a project to look at improving their facial performance pipeline.
The CTX team within Activision’s Central Technology division has focused on developing powerful solutions for facial capture, solvers and performance reproduction, but they need to do this across a variety of different project pipelines and occasionally involving external vendors. It work was seen as important as it is often challenging to maintain visual consistency, even from character to character within a single project. The CTX team identified the need to research a unified, robust, and scalable pipeline for actor likeness acquisition, performance capture and character animation.
To tackle this problem they created an internal research project known as the “Emotion Challenge”. Using the latest technology including their own acquisition of an ICT Light Stage, the team set out to research and document each stage in a facial pipeline and assess it for production viability. They then set to translating these research efforts into real world techniques that could be implemented to augment and extend existing approaches across a range of projects.
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