Nvidia shows off new facial rendering tech still cant claw way out

first_imgWe’re currently living in an age where computer-generated graphics are kind of hanging out at the other end of the uncanny valley, taking a breather from climbing in either direction. Video games look pretty good in modern times, packed with detail, and certain games — Uncharted and L.A. Noire, specifically — are exemplary models of character animation. However, with just a glance, you can easily discern that a video game is just that, a video game and not real life.As L.A. Noire showed us, character animation is just as — if not more — important than helping computer-generated graphics escape the uncanny valley. Nvidia recently unveiled some new facial animation tech, dubbed Face Works, that aims to get that valley climb started once again.At its core, the beauty of Face Works is that it condenses a large amount of motion-captured data into file sizes small enough for Nvidia’s new Titan graphics card to access and display in real-time. Nvidia performs its motion capture with a rig of 156 cameras set up in a circle around the subject’s face. A full range of capture usually churns out around 32GB of data, but Face Works is able to compress that down to 300MB.Unfortunately, Nvidia says that rendering the man above took about 2 teraflops. The PS4 can only reach around 1.84 teraflops, and rumors suggest that the next Xbox won’t even get that high. So, the new facial rendering most likely won’t be involved in new console games, at least not for real-time animation. Interestingly, these measurements are for the demo running at 60fps at 1080p, but at 30fps, the amount of work required is halved.Nvidia’s new Titan can handle 4.5 teraflops, so PC enthusiasts that want to upgrade to a Titan can dream of the tech making its way to their games. However, for as impressive as the demo is, the animations still look animatronic, albeit very sophisticated.Though the facial model is graphically superior to the character models in L.A. Noire, the facial animations in Noire still knock everything else we’ve seen out of the park. It’s also worth keeping in mind that tech demos are usually the most impressive use of a tech, as they only need to focus on a single aspect. A gaming rig might not be able to handle Nvidia’s facial tech if it’s applied to multiple on-screen characters, which in turn are inhabiting an animated backdrop.Whether or not the tech makes its way to consumer products, and might run into a few bumps in the road when it has to run alongside everything else running in a game, it still looks pretty good.last_img

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