Cubic Motion Announces New High-Compression Facial Tech

By William Usher 2012-03-22 13:03:53 discussion comments
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Remember how L.A. Noire was on multiple discs for the Xbox 360? Well, the reason the game was so freaking large was that it had some really snazzy facial animations stored on the disc. Well, Cubic Motion has an alternative technology to compress high-volume facial animations while at the same time maintaining the high-quality output effect of said animations.

Since it seems like the technical terms would fly over everyone's heads (including my own) Cubic Motion decided to show off how they're able to both compress and retain the quality of animations using their technology. A demo video was released, which you can check out below.



That was pretty awesome, eh? It looked like a standard AAA title. You can theoretically store tens of hours of facial animation without a loss in quality and the cool part about it is that its compatible with multiple gaming platforms and devices, as well as various animation rigs.

Dr. Steve Caulkin, the Chief Scientist who led the research, had a very nice explanation of how the software suite works and exactly what developers and gamers will be experiencing with Cubic Motion...
"Cubic started out mostly creating high-end animation for cutscenes - its always been a frustration to us that 'in-game' animation is almost always of a much lower quality. This quality-switching between different characters and different scenes is an ugly feature of modern games and wouldn't be acceptable in other art forms such as movies or TV shows. Our mission is to make sure all games can have great characters and animation throughout the game.

The first barrier to overcome was cost. Few studios could afford fifteen hours, say, of high-end animation, if the only option was some form of performance capture a much more involved process than just recording voice. We created a completely new option for large-scale animation with our emotive animation system, a radical alternative to procedural lipsync tools, but developers still face storage issues for high-quality content. This is even more of a problem in mobile of course. That's why we created this whole new suite of technology for compression. We think that everything - price, speed, storage - is now in place to open up entire games, on all platforms, to great facial animation."

And given that price is a factor for a lot of up-and-coming, mid-budget, big-budget and indie studios alike, Cubic has a varied price-range for the tools to suit the project size.

With the advent of software like xaitment, Unity, Mixamo, UDK and the id Tech 4 SDK, there's never been a better time to be a game developer, even if you're on a tight budget. You can learn more about Cubic Motion by paying a visit to the company's Official Website.
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