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Jeudi, 08 Décembre 2011 12:30

How Uncharted 3 Designers Make Faces Look Alive

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  • 12:30 pm  | 
  • Wired December 2011

To hear some developers talk, motion-capture is the only way to get realistic faces in videogames. Just one problem: It’s horrifying. “When people talk, their lips don’t move very much,” says Josh Scherr, lead cinematics animator on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. “Translated into computer animation, it ends up looking dead.” Instead, Scherr’s team at developer Naughty Dog animates characters’ faces by hand, making U3 the most lifelike game on the shelves. Here’s how they give hero Nathan Drake a face to (hopefully not) die for.

  • Emotion “Getting a believable smile on a computer-animated face is really difficult: When you smile, it makes your cheeks puff up around your eyes. Morphing the features takes too much processing power, so we use a facial system with about 90 controls—one opens the mouth, one raises the upper lip, one makes an eye blink. We sculpt performances out of that.”
  • Eyes “We include a snapshot of the environment that the character is standing in to get the reflection in the eyes. If you don’t do that, they look flat and lifeless. You also have to make the eyes dart around so it seems like there’s a thinking person behind them.”
  • Teeth “We had a hell of a time on the first Uncharted because our lighting tools made it difficult to keep the inside of mouths dark—it was lit up like a Christmas tree in there, and the teeth sat back a little bit in the mouth. Everything’s in the right place now.”
  • Hair “We’re faking it: Drake’s hair is made of hundreds of individual cards—flat polygons with hair textures pasted onto them. They’re blended so it looks like actual hair, then we run dynamic simulations on top to give the feeling that the hair is moving around.”
  • Skin “A shader is code that defines the surface properties of a material, like wood or water. We use skin shaders that adjust for subsurface scattering, simulating how light passes through skin and bounces around in there, giving you that pinkish glow.”


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