Motion capture is an interesting thing. It has been used in both games development and film production, for better and for worse. Capturing the performance of the actor and translating that into the 3d animation not only cuts costs and animation time, but also allows someone to wear the “skin” of another character.
Facerig allows users to do just that, without the expense of normal motion capture. Using only a webcam, and some facial recognition software, the program allows you to control a 3d avatar in real time. Users can watch as the avatar mimics their mouth, eye, ear, and head movements, and even customize the avatars to a certain extent. You can even use your own custom models. This is something that the creators have encouraged users in, releasing an upgrade that allows users to sell their own content for use with the program.
Due to the fact that users can output the program as a camera source, a lot of fans have gathered around it. Star Citizen players have begun using the software for in-game interactions, and you can even download a Floran from Starbound for use within the software itself.
So, sounds like a good bit of kit. The question is, does it work?
Full disclosure. I received a copy of Facerig after backing it during its Indiegogo funding stage. Therefore, I am writing this as someone who purchased the software in advance. Overall impression? Not bad.
If you’re interested in picking up the software, and you wear glasses, a word of warning. They interfere with the facial capture. I found that Facerig refused to pick up my eye movements whilst wearing mine, even after adjusting the settings. This is likely a deal breaker for many, but once the glasses were removed, I found that the software works decently enough.
There are some issues. Desync can happen all too easily, meaning that you have to stay within a very specific distance and zone within the camera for the software to work properly. Not only that, but it sometimes lagged when used as a camera source with friends.
It is, however, a huge laugh to use, and when it works, it works beautifully. Many of the issues will likely be worked on as development continues. Facerig is currently in pre-purchase, and the developers are listening to the community’s discussion on bugs and issues with the software.
It may be worth picking up now if you missed the Indiegogo and want to have a play around. Just know that in its current form, it is far from complete.
Facerig can be bought on Steam for $10.