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Computer Scientists Produce Realistic Face Models From Video Recordings

Creating facial models from standard video of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Based on ordinary video recordings such as these of U.S. President Barack Obama, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics create realistic facial models for computer animation and avatars.

Credit: Max Planck Institute for Informatics

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the media company Technicolor say they have developed a way to quickly and easily produce very detailed face models.

The team was able to reconstruct surfaces from standard video and alter them on a computer.

Large film studios can take several weeks to work on scenes five seconds long in order to reproduce an actor's appearance and the proportions of their face and body in photorealistic quality, and the researchers say the new technology can significantly accelerate the process.

"We can generate this face rig entirely on the basis of recordings made by a single standard video camera," says the Max Planck Institute's Christian Theobalt. "We use mathematical methods to estimate the parameters needed to record all the details of the face rig. They not only include the facial geometry, meaning the shape of the surfaces, but also the reflective characteristics and lighting of the scene."

Theobalt says these details were enough for the technique to faithfully reconstruct an individual face on the computer and, for example, to animate it naturally with laugh lines.

"As a model of the face, it works like a complete face rig which we can give various expressions by modifying its parameters," he says.

From Max Planck Gessellschaft
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