Friday, March 13th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Epic Games acquires facial mocap firm Cubic Motion

Siren, Epic Games’ eye-catching Unreal Engine demo from GDC 2018. Epic has just acquired the second of its tech partners on the project, facial mocap firm Cubic Motion, having bought 3Lateral last year.

Epic Games has acquired facial motion capture specialist Cubic Motion, its technology partner on its spectacular Unreal Engine keynote from GDC 2018, with all of Cubic Motion staff joining Epic.

As well as bolstering Epic’s work on generating believable real-time digital humans, the firm will continue to market Persona, its commercial facial capture system.

Advancing facial performance capture for game development
Founded in 2009, UK-based Cubic Motion has become one of the key players in facial capture for the games industry, with its technology used on AAA titles including God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man.

It is also one of Epic Games’ longstanding collaborators, having worked on a range of the firm’s tech demos, culminating in the 2018 GDC keynote.

Cubic Motion’s tech was used to transfer facial expressions at 60fps from footage of a live actor to a photorealistic digital replica of a second actress, China’s Bingjie Jiang.

The buyout means that Epic has acquired both major pieces of third-party technology from the project, having bought 3Lateral – responsible for the facial rigging system used in the demo – last year.

At the time, Epic told CG Channel that it expected 3Lateral’s tech to make its way directly into Unreal Engine.

“Digital humans are … the most complex endeavour in computer graphics. With Cubic Motion bringing their computer vision and animation technology … Epic along with our team at 3Lateral are one step closer to democratizing these capabilities for creators everywhere,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.

Persona facial-capture system remains commercially available
As well as working as a service bureau and technology provider for game developers, Cubic Motion also markets its own facial capture system, Persona, which it launched last year.

According to Epic, the firm “will continue to support its customers and industry partners while also accelerating efforts around Persona and Unreal Engine real-time facial animation”.

We contacted Epic to ask if Cubic Motion will still sell Persona actively, but the firm declined to comment.

Read more about Epic Games’ acquisition of Cubic Motion in the firm’s blog post