Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

KeenTools ships FaceBuilder 2.1 for Nuke and Blender

Originally posted on 1 March 2020. Scroll down for news of the 2.1 update.

Plugin developer KeenTools has released KeenTools 2.0, the latest version of its suite of add-ons for Nuke – and now Blender.

The update moves the Blender edition of FaceBuilder, its add-on for creating textured 3D head models from source photos, out of beta; and adds support for facial expressions to both Nuke and Blender editions.

Create accurate 3D reconstructions of live actors from source photos inside Nuke and Blender
FaceBuilder, originally released for Nuke in 2018, promises to achieve the kind of results that would normally only be possible with dedicated photogrammetry software or 3D scan data.

Users begin by importing photos of an actor, and adjusting parameters like focal length and aperture on a readymade virtual camera to match the source images.

By placing pins in the viewport, they can then adjust the default facial geometry the plugin generates to match that of live actor. FaceBuilder projects textures from the source photos onto the final 3D geometry.

This demo video shows the process inside Nuke, creating models that would conventionally prove challenging with photogrammetry, including digital heads with facial hair or glasses.

New in KeenTools 2.0: FaceBuilder for Blender, plus support for facial expressions
The KeenTools 2.0 update officially makes the Blender edition of the software – released in open beta last year – a commercial product.

New features specific to the Blender edition include EXIF-based and manual photo orientation.

The update also makes it possible to use any facial expression as the basis for creating a custom head model, rather than requiring an image of the actor with a neutral expression.

According to KeenTools’ blog post, “the results are not as precise as with the neutral expression photos, but it’s certainly much better than adapting a neutral model to a smiling face”.

Nuke users also get the option to export from FaceBuilder to FaceTracker, KeenTools’ facial tracking add-on, and stability improvements to sister tools GeoTracker and PinTool.

Updated 10 August 2020: KeenTools has released FaceBuilder 2.1.

The update makes it possible to use source photos shot on different cameras – for example, when using online reference – with the software pulling in focal length and sensor size from the images’ EXIF data.

Where no EXIF data is available, the software uses estimation based on the dimensions of all the photos.

Pricing and system requirements
The full KeenTools 2.1 product suite is available for Nuke 8.0+. FaceBuilder is also available for Blender 2.80+. The tools run on Windows, Linux and macOS.

All of the plugins are rental-only and cost $149/year for a node-locked Personal licence, $299 for a node-locked Commercial licence, or $399/year for a Floating licence.

New licences of FaceBuilder include both Nuke and Blender editions. FaceBuilder and FaceTracker are also available as a product bundle.

Read an overview of the new features in KeenTools 2.1 on the company’s blog

Read a full changelog for KeenTools 2.x