If you thought Sony’s creepy tech demo involving that old man’s face was something, wait until you see what Activision’s R&D department has been working on.
Activision showed off the state of the art of real-time graphics on Wednesday, releasing this mind-boggling character demo. The character’s skin, facial expressions and eyes look so real, it’s uncanny.
This newest character edges ever-so-closely to our own side of the uncanny valley, where art is indistinguishable from reality. That’s thanks to what game developer Activision calls “next-generation character rendering.” This character is part of a presentation Activision’s real-time graphics R&D expert Jorge Jimenez gave on Wednesday at GDC 2013, the annual Game Development Conference.
According to Jimenez, this face and others like it represent “the culmination of many years of work in photorealistic characters.” At the presentation, Jimenez showed “how each detail is the secret for achieving reality.”
Jimenez wrote in his blog about how this type of animation has made tremendous progress. “We believe this technology will bring current-generation characters into next-generation life.” Like baseball great Babe Ruth pointing at the center-field fence, before his presentation Jimenez declared this animation would be rendered live, and “we will show it running on our two-year-old laptop.”
The trick for these gaming developers is not only to create photorealistic animated characters, but to ensure that such animations can play in real time on video cards and computers that ordinary people actually own. And that’s what Activision has done, using standard bone animation, facial scanning, performance capture and lots of intricate artwork to make skin look real.