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Di-O-Matic releases sub-$1,500 facial mocap system

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Di-O-Matic has released a new sub-$1,500 markerless facial motion-capture system.

According to the news release, Maskarad (pronounced ‘Masquerade’) requires only a single video of an actor’s face to extract lip movements and facial expressions.

The software supports phoneme detection for a range of languages, outputting the processed motion data in a range of standard file formats, including FBX, BVH and C3D. The data is rig-independent, and animation curves are automatically exported.

Best known for its facial animation and set-up tools Voice-O-Matic and Facial Studio, Di-O-Matic has built a strong user base, particularly among game developers.

And, at $1,499, the system is affordable enough to be used even by small studios and independent animators. With OptiTrack also announcing new budget facial-capture systems this week, competition at the indie end of the mocap market is rapidly heating up.

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Di-O-Matic Inc, a leading developer of 3D character animation software and plug-in for the entertainment industry today released Maskarad, a new ground-breaking automatic markerless facial performance motion capture software.

With Maskarad, 3D artists now only need a video file featuring an actor’s performance to get started creating lifelike facial animations. Using advanced computer recognition, Maskarad automatically locates and tracks facial expressions all the while using phonetic recognition to create accurate lip motion.

Maskarad is a markerless motion capture technology that literally puts motion capture on the animator’s desktop. You can shoot a video right at your workplace using a webcam or inexpensive digital camera and have it converted to 3D facial animation data in minutes.

“I’ve tested and used a lot of 3rd party software in my years of production on some of the best games of all-time like Bungie’s Halo3, Ubisoft’s Spinter Cell and Prince of Persia to name a few” revealed Jonathan Abenhaim, senior freelance character animator. He continues: “Maskarad is insanely simple, it outputs results in a fraction of the time it used to take me to produce facial animations and I can easily tweak its animation curves.”

No messy or cumbersome face marker setups and no expensive dedicated hardware is required. Maskarad quickly outputs facial animation data ready to be used in your favorite 3D applications.

Before Maskarad, realistic 3D facial animation was limited to only a few high-end projects. This was due to the expensive motion capture hardware and laborious post-processing involved either directly or through outsourcing. Maskarad will provide an amazing first pass of animation done in minutes without any complicated setups. This is what Di-O-Matic solutions are about… giving you awesome results quicker than anyone else.

“Maskarad provides a remarkable solution for doing facial motion capture,” says Lee Dickholtz from Meta Motion. “Maskarad is the easiest powerful 3D animation tool that I have ever encountered during 25 years of working with 3D animation and motion capture. Di-O-Matic has done an excellent job creating character animation plugins and standalone programs that greatly simplify the life of character animators. Maskarad is another example of their splendid work!”

Pricing and Availability
Maskarad is now shipping. Pricing is US 1499$ for a full commercial version (protected with ALPServer, Di-O-Matic licensing system with floating license options), and comes with one year Premium support.

Visit the Maskarad product website

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