Microsoft’s Game Face

September 21, 2011 Published in the October 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Photo: Courtesy Microsoft

KNOW WHAT? says Xin Tong of Microsoft Research Asia. CGI humans in movies and video games look fake. Know what else? They don’t have to. In a paper he presented at an August international computer graphics conference in Vancouver, BC, Tong explained how he and his team have nearly perfected 3D expressions, complete with “dynamic wrinkles and fine-scale facial details.” The team placed some 100 reflective dots on the faces of three actors and filmed them laughing, wincing, and scowling. High-resolution scanners captured the subtleties—such as crinkles around the eyes—that go along with each expression. Tong calls realistic facial expressions the “holy grail” of computer graphics. We’re pretty sure he smiled when he said that.

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