Thursday, April 4th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Faceware ships Analyzer 3.8, Retargeter 5.8 and Shepherd

Faceware Technologies has released Analyzer 3.8 and Retargeter 5.8, new versions of its markerless performance capture software incorporating AI-driven improvements to the quality of a facial solve.

Shepherd, Faceware’s new application for syncing the output of its facial capture systems with a Vicon or OptiTrack full-body mocap set-up, is also now available to buy, though still officially in beta.

In separate news, the firm has announced major price cuts to its products, plus new rental pricing.

AI-driven improvements to facial solving in Analyzer 3.8 and Retargeter 5.8
Faceware’s key software products form a two-part facial capture pipeline: Analyzer processes live footage of an actor’s face, while Retargeter controls how its output drives the animation of a CG character.

Analyzer is a standalone application; Retargeter is a plugin for 3ds Max, Maya and MotionBuilder.

In the latest releases, Analyzer 3.8 and Retargeter 5.8, both tools benefit from work Faceware has done using deep learning techniques to improve the quality of automatic facial solves.

Drawing from a set of nearly 3 million facial images submitted by its users, the firm annotated around 40,000 manually, marking in the positions of the actor’s upper and lower teeth.

Faceware then built and trained a deep learning network using image pairs consisting of the original facial expressions and the output of its facial capture pipeline.

The result was used to improve the quality of automated solves in Analyzer: primarily to improve positioning of the CG character’s jaw, although brow position can also benefit.

According to Faceware VP Peter Busch, output is “now shippable” without manual clean-up work.

Busch also commented that the facial animation generated automatically by the software is now “better than some of our users could produce with the older products”, even after clean-up.

Another benefit of the work is that Analyzer can now estimate the neutral facial expression needed to calibrate a facial solve, even when no suitable images of an actor are available.

New mocap syncing tool Shepherd now available to buy
In addition, Shepherd, Faceware’s newest software application, is now available to buy – although still officially in open beta – following a closed beta last October.

The software synchronises facial motion-capture recordings made with the firm’s ProHD headcams with full-body capture from Vicon or OptiTrack optical capture systems.

The full-body capture system can be set up to start and stop facial recording automatically, removing the need to track the session manually, and minimising unnecessary data capture.

Pricing and system requirements
Analyzer 3.8 is available for Windows 10. Retargeter 5.8 is available for 3ds Max 2016-2019, Maya 2016+ and MotionBuilder 2016+ running on Windows 7+. Shepherd is available for Windows 10.

Perpetual licences of the entry-level Studio editions of the software cost $750 for Analyzer, $500 for Retargeter and $2,400 for Shepherd, including one year’s support. You can find more pricing options here.

Read more about Faceware Technologies’ facial motion capture products on its website