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Disney develops ‘Physical Face Cloning’ pipeline

Sunday, August 19th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Disney has released a video showing its new ‘Physical Face Cloning’ pipeline, intended to create ultra-realistic animatronic figures.

The research, which was carried out in conjunction with Cornell University and ETH Zurich, uses much the same facial capture techniques as might be used for a digital character to record an actor’s expressions.

The team then used physics simulation techniques to calculate the optimum thickness of the silicone ‘skin’ used for the animatronic figure’s face in order for it to be able to recreate those expressions.

Terrifyingly realistic
With the mask painted up, with hair added, and set in motion, the results are uncannily realistic – and uncanny really is the world.

If you thought The Polar Express was as far into the Uncanny Valley as it’s possible to travel, you haven’t seen an android clone of a Disney scientist reciting lines from The Empire Strikes Back. With its eyes closed.

You can expect to see the results of the research at a Disney theme park near you in the near future. Just hope that it has its eyes open when you do.

Download the full research paper from the Disney Research website

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