The AI tool behind Thanos made facial animation in ‘The Quarry’ a snap
06.28.22Performance-capture acting for video games is often a sterile experience. An actor straps on a helmet camera and performs their lines in a sound booth, then that data gets transferred to a game engine where it’s put on an in-game skeleton for artists to review and clean up. With “The Quarry,” the process felt more like filming a stage play, according to Aruna Inversin, creative director and visual effects supervisor for Digital Domain, the VFX studio that partnered with developer Supermassive Games on their spiritual successor to “Until Dawn.”
The Oscar-winning studio has produced visual effects for movies like “Titanic,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and several Marvel films. To create the photorealistic characters seen in “The Quarry,” it used the AI facial capture system Masquerade, which was developed to replicate Josh Brolin’s likeness for his character Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Masquerade was originally designed to do one thing: to take the performance from a head-mounted camera and translate it into a digital mesh that could then be rendered in a movie. For “The Quarry,” the VFX team needed something that could track the movement and facial expressions of actors and create digital characters that could be edited in real time. So they built Masquerade 2.0.
This new tech expedited production tenfold. Actors would perform their scenes, Digital Domain would upload all the performances onto a computer with their body performance, head performance and audio time coded and synced, then send that to Supermassive to review in the game engine. The developer would provide feedback, and by the next day “The Quarry” Director Will Byles, who also directed “Until Dawn,” could watch the footage to determine if any particular performance needed to be reshot. In total, Digital Domain said it rendered 250 million frames for “The Quarry” — far more than it would have for a typical film.
Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2022/06/28/quarry-avengers-thanos/