OC3 Entertainment has released FaceFX 2013, the latest update to its automated facial animation system.
The software, which batch-processes audio files to generate user-customisable lip sync and facial animation, has been used on over 150 AAA games, including Max Payne 3 and Mass Effect 3.
New FBX workflow
The main new feature in FaceFX 2013 is a revamped FBX pipeline, which means users can begin generating animation from a single FBX file specifying the character’s facial targets.
OC3 has described this feature as “a big step towards” supporting Blender (or indeed, any other software package capable of exporting an FBX file: notably, Unity).
Other new features include Confidence Scores: essentially a system for flagging likely errors when the algorithm isn’t certain that it’s matched a phoneme correctly to the source text or audio.
A new pricing and plugins model
The pricing structure has also been revamped: whereas previously you could opt to buy FaceFX either as a $199 plugin for your Autodesk software of choice, or as a $1,995 standalone edition, the plugins are now free, but you’ll need the Studio edition to analyse audio. The price of the Studio edition has been cut to $899.
The MotionBuilder plugin has now been dropped entirely – presumably in favour of the new FBX workflow – but you can still get native support for 3ds Max, Maya or Softimage. The software is Windows-only.