Welcome to uncanny valley, a place where humans don’t look quite like humans, which is super freaky-deaky. It’s amazing how realistic real-time CGI is getting, just as you can see in this tech demo from Activision. What’s awesome is that this isn’t super high-end hardware running this.
This animated character is being rendered in real-time on current video card hardware, using standard bone animation. The original high resolution data was acquired from Light Stage Facial Scanning and Performance Capture by USC Institute for Creative Technologies, then converted to a 70 bones rig, while preserving the high frequency detail in diffuse, normal and displacement composite maps.
It is being rendered in a DirectX 11 environment, using advanced techniques to faithfully represent the character’s skin and eyes. This demo is running at 180 fps on current GTX 680 cards.
Check out the video below. Seriously, check it out. The facial reactions, paired with the movement of the eyes, really sold it to me. When the model laughed, it looked close to real. I literally said “whoa” out loud. You can see and read more on the tech and the team behind it on Jorge Jimenez’s website here.