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SheepFactory
03-09-2006, 11:34 PM
Softimage Unveils Face Robot Software
Softimage Unveils Face Robot Software

Revolutionary new technology delivers realistic, lifelike facial animation for high-end film, post and games projects

Los Angeles – March 9, 2006 – Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID) today announced that its Softimage subsidiary has unveiled SOFTIMAGE®|FACE ROBOTTM – the industry’s first software application dedicated to the creation of believable facial animation for high-end film, post and games productions. Designed for studios faced with high-quality or high-volume facial animation requirements, Face Robot software represents a technological breakthrough by enabling professionals to animate a digital human face with higher quality results and in less time than using traditional methods. In just six easy steps, artists can generate emotive expressions that replicate natural, organic movement of skin and soft tissue. The software works with all major 3D applications and easily integrates into any studio pipeline.



“Believable facial animation is arguably the hardest problem in computer graphics today, and a huge challenge for 3D production,” said Marc Stevens, vice president of Softimage. “Face Robot is an important step for Softimage, building on our long-standing heritage of innovation focused on revolutionizing the way 3D animators work. We are very excited to deliver a new technology that truly empowers artists to bring human characters to life with unprecedented quality and efficiency.”



Currently, the most common methods for animating human faces are complex, labor-intensive and time-consuming, typically requiring artists to create a series of shapes for each facial expression. With Face Robot software, artists save valuable production time by directly manipulating various anatomical features such as the mouth, eyebrows and jaw. With the ability to exercise precise control, Face Robot offers the freedom to sculpt the nuances of an expression at any point during the animation process. With the software’s unique soft-tissue “solver,” Face Robot simulates how facial tissue slides and deforms during the formation of expressions and includes a corrective sculpting system for detailed art direction.



Michael Isner, manager of special projects at Softimage and leader of the Face Robot development team, said, “The main objective behind developing Face Robot is to maximize the life-like appearance of a face while minimizing the difficulty of getting there. By working closely with top animators in the industry, we delivered a tool that is dedicated to enhancing the artistic approach to a 3D workflow. With a streamlined production process focused solely on facial behavior, Face Robot is poised to have a tremendous impact on the industry.”



With built-in support for importing and exporting of Autodesk 3ds Max® and Maya® file formats, Face Robot software can be easily incorporated into existing pipelines, offering further interoperability.



Key Features include:

Integrated facial soft tissue solver

Direct manipulation of face controls

Visual animation interface

Iterative performance refinement tools

Animation retargeting

SDK and multiple scripting languages

Point caching with all major 3D applications

.C3D Motion file import

Import and export Maya .mb &.fbx, 3ds Max .max, Point Oven .psc, and .lwo2

Reference HD footage of actors performing facial expression and phonemes



Pricing & Availability

SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT software is expected to be available in March 2006 for purchase in the following configurations:

SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT Designer is available for $94,995 USMSRP, and is a complete environment to prepare, solve and animate faces. Designer includes the tools to define wrinkles and puffing, place tendons and fine-tune the mouth. It also includes all of the functionality of a seat of Animator. In a typical pipeline, a single seat of Designer is used with several seats of Animator.

SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT Animator is available for $14,995 USMSRP. Animator animates faces prepared using Designer. Animator is a hybrid environment for both keyframe animation and motion capture. It uses a powerful retargeting algorithm that transfers animation and motion capture across faces and offers high-level tuning controls.



More information, videos and background details on the technology are available at www.softimage.com/



About Softimage Co.

Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc. delivers innovative, artist-friendly character creation and effects tools to animators and digital artists in the film, broadcast, post-production and games industries. Its flagship product, SOFTIMAGE|XSI® - the industry\'s only non-destructive digital character production software - frees character animators and digital artists to create compelling animated 3D content and effects - from major motion pictures to CG features and commercials, to video games. For more information about Softimage, please visit www.softimage.com.



About Avid Technology, Inc.

Avid Technology, Inc. is the world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games, and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively, and creatively. For more information about the company’s Oscarâ, Grammyâ, and Emmyâ award-winning products and services, please visit: www.avid.com.



© 2006 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Product features, specifications, system requirements, and availability are subject to change without notice. All prices are USMSRP for the U.S. and Canada only and are subject to change without notice. Contact your local Avid office or reseller for prices outside the U.S. and Canada. Avid, Digidesign, Film Composer, Pro Tools, FACE ROBOT, SOFTIMAGE and XSI are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. Avid received an Oscar statuette representing the 1998 Scientific and Technical Award for the concept, design, and engineering of the Avid® Film Composer® system for motion picture editing. Digidesign, Avid’s audio division, received an Oscar statuette representing the 2003 Scientific and Technical Award for the design, development, and implementation of its Pro Tools® digital audio workstation. Oscar is a trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Emmy is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS. Grammy is a trademark of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Inc. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

-Vormav-
03-09-2006, 11:44 PM
Sweet. I was pretty impressed with face robot when I saw a demo of it here a few months back. I remember when the first topics about it showed up here, there were a bunch of animators freaking out about face robot, thinking that it would somehow completely remove the animator's role in facial animation. But that's definitely not the case from what I viewed: you can still keyframe things all you want.
Looks like a Face Robot system is pretty damn expensive, but it's a nice setup.

SheepFactory
03-09-2006, 11:44 PM
before anyone asks , there is no typo in that pricing :)

Bonedaddy
03-09-2006, 11:50 PM
Really frigging sweet, but holy hell the price.

Phearielord
03-09-2006, 11:53 PM
before anyone asks , there is no typo in that pricing :)

Whoa!
$95,000 for Face Robot Designer??
I think i need some more convincing before i would agree with that pricetag

Bonedaddy
03-09-2006, 11:55 PM
Bleh, and it's Windows only? Hrmmmm.

Honestly, how many houses would really buy this, at that price? I can think of maybe 10 that would both afford it and use it enough to make their money back. Granted, 10 sales means 1 million dollars for Softimage, but still.

poly-phobic
03-10-2006, 12:03 AM
$94k....

i better be able to do stuff that is impossible with my stock 3d package...

thats unreal...

seriously.

the 3d package id use in conjunction with face robot is a mere fraction of the cost.

well, i know they are not targeting the average user [like myself]....

shingo
03-10-2006, 12:07 AM
I think you make a good point.

Being mo-cap centric, it would seem that this is only really suitable to studios with access to mocap facilities. Also v1.0 of anything always has it's issues, so I suspect that this price tag comes with a LOT of hand holding from Softimage.

If this tool mathces the hype, then meybe it's almost realistic. How much would you pay a skilled TD/prgrammer or team of them, to produce a kick arse proprietary facial system?

Bear in mind also that the big studios NEVER pay list price on anything. Prices like these usualyl include a lot of wiggle room, but I do agree, is pretty over the top.


Bleh, and it's Windows only? Hrmmmm.

Honestly, how many houses would really buy this, at that price? I can think of maybe 10 that would both afford it and use it enough to make their money back. Granted, 10 sales means 1 million dollars for Softimage, but still.

BillSpradlin
03-10-2006, 12:08 AM
For $94,000 it better make me pancakes in bed the morning after using it.

Bonedaddy
03-10-2006, 12:09 AM
On a related note, is anyone here going to the Face Robot unveiling party tonight in LA? I'm contemplating it; it starts in around an hour. Any blur folk?

imashination
03-10-2006, 12:10 AM
before anyone asks , there is no typo in that pricing :)

Did someone set Avid's computer clock back 10 years?

JDex
03-10-2006, 12:15 AM
It will be interesting to hear what comes out of todays roundtable discussion (before the big show)... certainly SI is going to take alot of flack for the pricing, but they have to recoup the R&D costs --which we're certainly high-- and focus this at the bleeding edge studios...

I won't be surprised to see several of the major studios pick up a seat or two, it's not big money if the return is spread over two or three large contracts in a fiscal year.

KingMob
03-10-2006, 12:24 AM
Yeah a few of us are, I will be to busy to attend but have fun anyone who goes!

On a related note, is anyone here going to the Face Robot unveiling party tonight in LA? I'm contemplating it; it starts in around an hour. Any blur folk?

punchatz
03-10-2006, 12:31 AM
Whoa!
$95,000 for Face Robot Designer??
I think i need some more convincing before i would agree with that pricetag

Yes its pricey, very pricey and I was a bit shocked. Then I thought about it and I understand where they are coming from. Let me ask you this since you work at weta, I asume the development of Kong's face rig cost more than $95,000 right? Well if this product gets a studio anywhere near the kind of expressiveness Kong had in his face in a day or two for setup it just might be worth it. And with all the motion retargeting tools it would be very easy to transfer animation from one character to another. It could pay for itself quickly if you do a lot of face animation.

Also someone else mentioned they can see them selling more than 10 copies, I think they might sell a few more than that. If they did only sell 10 copies they make a million bucks, they would have to sell 2000+ copies of foundation to make that same million dollars.

I will have to look deeper into it before I make up my mind, it looks pretty sweet though.
I saw a sneak peek at SIG but not enough, I need to see more. I do know one thing, Michael Isner the guy behind this face robot is one smart guy.

Greg

NeptuneImaging
03-10-2006, 12:32 AM
I think I am going to faint, because Face Robot is so un-****ing-believable. That girls face looked so convincing. Imagine combining that with a photoreal character using every map possible....

But of course I am going to be stuck with the usual conventions of facial animation (not that I am complaining). I am a one man team for now.

Phearielord
03-10-2006, 12:42 AM
Yes its pricey, very pricey and I was a bit shocked. Then I thought about it and I understand where they are coming from. Let me ask you this since you work at weta, I asume the development of Kong's face rig cost more than $95,000 right? Well if this product gets a studio anywhere near the kind of expressiveness Kong had in his face in a day or two for setup it just might be worth it. And with all the motion retargeting tools it would be very easy to transfer animation from one character to another. It could pay for itself quickly if you do a lot of face animation.


yeah
i did think about the costs involving having actual staff working on a face.
If the system works as well as they say it does, then it will indeed save a company money

But i'd like to see how it handles more specific facial traits in a character.....rather than just straight deformations.
I assume you will be able to control wrinkles and the like with the system, so hopefully it works.

But like i said, i need to see a few more examples before i'm convinced.

shingo
03-10-2006, 12:42 AM
I wasn't all that impressed with the test, but then again, one would not expect Sodftimage and Blur to produce a feature film quality test that was likely rushed out in time for the release.

I think I am going to faint, because Face Robot is so un-****ing-believable. That girls face looked so convincing. Imagine combining that with a photoreal character using every map possible....

But of course I am going to be stuck with the usual conventions of facial animation (not that I am complaining). I am a one man team for now.

shingo
03-10-2006, 12:52 AM
I have seen an early demo of the system and it controls wrinkles very well.

yeah
i did think about the costs involving having actual staff working on a face.
If the system works as well as they say it does, then it will indeed save a company money

But i'd like to see how it handles more specific facial traits in a character.....rather than just straight deformations.
I assume you will be able to control wrinkles and the like with the system, so hopefully it works.

But like i said, i need to see a few more examples before i'm convinced.

KolbyJukes
03-10-2006, 12:55 AM
I'm a bit surprised by the price, but eh, I guess this is really aimed at companys not single users. Hopefully it'll become a little more affordable in future versions.

I really liked the articulation around the mouth. Great model Sze!

-K.

Bonedaddy
03-10-2006, 12:56 AM
Well, whoever ends up going to the LA shindig tonight, post impressions. I just now freed up, and I could go to it, but I don't want to have to brave rush hour traffic. *shudder*

PhilOsirus
03-10-2006, 12:56 AM
Face Robot exists to make it easier to transfer mocaped facial expressions to a CG character. It can be good for movies, TV, and video games. It's not THAT expensive when you consider the fact that facial animations are part of all CG movies or of a lot of next-gen games. I am certain that it could even be used to transfer mocaped facial expressions from a person to a cartoonish car (which would then be tweaked by a good animator).

Finally the animation departments are getting new tools. Face Robot and Endorphine-like apps are much welcomed.

unchikun
03-10-2006, 01:38 AM
$95k.... As Peter Stormare says in the VW commercial... OH Schnapp!!!

I'm not too sure what market this is aimed at. Large studios would be able to afford it but at that price point they have their own team of developers that can make custom tools that fit better into the pipeline and any software modifications, tech support or training can be done in house.

shingo
03-10-2006, 01:43 AM
I agree to a point, but the guys Softimage clearly didn't decide this price point while downing one too many beers. They surely based this on the price peopel are willing to invest - the obejct of ht egame is to sell the thing after all.

During the SIG demos in 2005, what surprisingly came out was that a number of large studios were workign on their own solutions but not achieving anything really satisfactory. There was a lot of enthusiasm generated at that show and Softimage were being contacted by studios they never expected to hear from.

Time will tell.

$95k.... As Peter Stormare says in the VW commercial... OH Schnapp!!!

I'm not too sure what market this is aimed at. Large studios would be able to afford it but at that price point they have their own team of developers that can make custom tools that fit better into the pipeline and any software modifications, tech support or training can be done in house.

DotPainter
03-10-2006, 02:06 AM
Definitely a step closer to procedural animation and true "virtual" actors, ie actors that exibit particular emotions and behaviors without every frame being keyed by hand. However, I wonder how long it will be before this gets wide acceptance as a technology for movies?

GreyWolf_OPS
03-10-2006, 02:16 AM
You know this looks ok, but for 95K i would say that I would make the rigg myself. Especially if anyone takes a gander over the post on CGTalk (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=20832&page=1&pp=15).. its about 50 pages long, started in 2002, and the face rigg has different controls, but the overall way the animation is achieved is the same. From what I gathered its all really done with spline constraints.. But theres were joints involved, so I am a little curious whats different. Most likely not too hard to figure out. And not to mention the animation that I have seen from the face rigg site didnt convince me like say, the facial animation of King Kong.

Mainly all the ground work has already been done for anyone really interested in creating a working rough version.

Its interesting that they are now making it so it works with all major 3d apps. From the whole thing that I saw, that is the one thing that surprised me the most. And then exports back to the software of choice that it was imported from.. If they keep up the whole process of working with the CG community, I will take them much more serious than before.

Martin_G_3D
03-10-2006, 02:19 AM
With movie production budgets being around 100 million and this software perhaps helping a lot with the SFX that have become an important part of todays movies, I don't think they will really miss 95k.

And im not sure but isnt it maybe also possible people can loose their jobs over this tool? that it automates a lot of stuff that first needed human work? 95k is less than a years salary often. Not that I'm saying I encourage that people loose their jobs because of automation, not at all, but it would in that case be even cheaper for the studios.

swardson
03-10-2006, 02:29 AM
wow, thats expensive...

makes massive look like a drop in the bucket when it comes to cost.

de_tomato
03-10-2006, 02:44 AM
That was my 3 years salary! Now, if anyone ask for help regarding the software later, i would doubt it would be legit copy.

beaker
03-10-2006, 03:00 AM
That whole part at siggraph where they said it can take 8-24 hours + to process the setup was a big turnoff. Especially if it doesn't work. Ill stick with paying a TD to get stuff to work right for that price.

shingo
03-10-2006, 04:08 AM
Did you get that information second hand? I think you misundertood. Set-up is more like 3 hours.

The system obviously does work, or there would be no product being released.

That whole part at siggraph where they said it can take 8-24 hours + to process the setup was a big turnoff. Especially if it doesn't work. Ill stick with paying a TD to get stuff to work right for that price.

Icarus
03-10-2006, 04:28 AM
has anyone given any thought to this is quite common for most new technology to be expensive? after a few sales, the technology becomes more mainstream and becomes cheaper.

and in no way am i trying or attempting to start a fight or be a troll.

I hope the product does well, i was impressed at the melbourne demo a few months back :)

cyartist
03-10-2006, 04:29 AM
The price will drop to 35k to 10k when reality sets in.

rickmann
03-10-2006, 05:10 AM
Hey I just came back from the unveiling of face robot! I thought it was pretty cool! I was pretty tired from working all day but I thought the highlight was Tim Miller! Especially when he told everyone during his talk that he was drunk and let a very grateful F*&! You to Sony after explaining that he was let go from there some years back and now he was back giving a demostration! Oh did I mention it was held at Sony's Studio! Way to go Tim! Give h'm hell!! Oh cudos to Softimage for putting on a great show!!

Nando
03-10-2006, 05:26 AM
Just got back also from the sony lot.

Very impressed with Face Robot.
It does work with MOCAP, but from the demo folks can also do standard animation or fix bad mocap via hand keyframing or tweaks.
Folks can make a library of poses retarget them to other models or at least thats what i gathered from the power poitn slides.
worsks with Maya, Max, etc.. via point Oven
Not sure if they ment Mark Wilsons point oven
http://www.ef9.com/ef9/PO.htm
Also the wrinkle tools look sweet.
Also works with Zbrush displacement maps
according to i think Michael Isner folks can use other tools to drive the animation i figured maybe midi... since he said you can plug anythng in via there sdk....
jelly deformer, wieght maps, remodeling.. it seems that standard XSI is in the FaceRobot app.
Im tired and didnt eat at the place so if this seems like a rambel tOOBAD.
:)

its cool though..pricey, but cool..
when folks get to see what it does im sure other manufactures will copy it or someone will script something similar..in do time


http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/video_gallery/default.aspx

you can view the making of Kitty Hunting video now

CIM
03-10-2006, 06:50 AM
Here we go again: your average CG Joe thinking he needs high-end production software to do his personal projects/demo reel. I'm sure this and other new technology will find its way into your software package of choice in the upcoming years. Until then...$$$.

Kabab
03-10-2006, 07:26 AM
So can you average animator pick it up and get good results or does it require a TD to drive it?

withanar
03-10-2006, 08:31 AM
According to the demos this afternoon and this evening, the process has been streamlined to the extent where it now takes an animator about 15 minutes to run through the initial rig setup, and anywhere from an hour to as long as it takes to tune things to taste.

The design of the software is quite elegant in that the setup is easy and automated, and the default interface is the handful of animation control points you manipulate on the face. However, if you need access (ie, you're a TD or animation control freak), you can dig deep into the procedural setup, changing falloff curves and weight maps for every soft tissue parameter under the sun. If that isn't enough control for you, the face mesh itself is still a polygonal mesh, and you have access to every modeling and animation operator available to XSI Advanced to manipulate it.

Worst case scenario, if the combination of tissue solvers, tension maps, wrinkle maps, profile curves, etc, isn't enough to get your face into the right shape, you can push points around to exactly what you want, and with a single button click, associate those shapes with the relative positions of the face animation controls. In essence, this means you could strip away all of the procedural goodies and you'd still be left with a tool that would significantly ease the process of facial animation.

Other hilites demonstrated were tools that help you finish the "boring" but necessary components of face modeling: A tool that fills in the inside of the mouth cavity, auto tongue rigging, procedural eye generation, and automodeling for eye sockets.

vlad74
03-10-2006, 08:41 AM
$94,995 USMSRP ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

No thanks. :banghead:
This is just an insane price for the small and medium studios but probably not for the big guys out there.

Lets hope that somebody else will release something similar but with normal price.

gent_k
03-10-2006, 09:00 AM
NO thanks.

Awww... you're not buying it!? :D


Oh and that making of vid was quite informative for a change.

RayenD
03-10-2006, 09:17 AM
My jaw didn't drop after seeing it (yet), but I am impressed with the technology and its potential. Developing a facial system with such flexibility would probably cost more than they priced it. Anyway I am sure a project which requires such setups can easily justify the price.

Kudos to Softimage for being innovative as always! Now please invtent some smart weitghting technology for the body part :) (goes back to painting weights)

Bonedaddy
03-10-2006, 09:17 AM
Well, it's been in full development for like 1-2 years now. Let's say they have a core dev team of 10 people. Each of them tops in their field, pulling in 200k/yr. That's a $2 million r&d cost, just in terms of manual labor.

So let's say they have to recoup $2 million, and fairly quickly, as Softimage is not the biggest player in the market, and isn't made out of money.

This is a tool that is basically only necessary for animation studios and the highest-end effects houses, who do digital lead characters. They're the people who NEED it. Everyone else is a speculative buy.

- Games houses? Doubt they could use it, except for cinematics
- Boutique effects houses? Depends on the show they have going. Not reliable income.
- TV animation? Doubtful they'd spend the money. Same with low-rent cg features.

Which leaves them with only a couple customers they can count on at release time. Let's say Pixar, ILM, Dreamworks, Weta, Sony, Blue Sky, and Blur (duh). Maybe Tippett, DD, and a couple of the more medium-range effects houses. I'm guessing maybe 20 guaranteed licenses.

So, $2 million/20 = $100,000.


That's how I guess it rolled out. Honestly, it's a version 1.0 product, I wouldn't really want to be using it anyways, if I were you all -- bound to be a huge number of things to work around, possibly enough that anywhere but a huge company wouldn't be able to deal with.


All speculation on my part, could be talking out my rear orifice. Who knows.

eek
03-10-2006, 09:54 AM
I love the tech behind faceRobot (gRrrr!!) but im not gunna pay 94,000 dollars sorry. For any app. But hey its great developing your own, i'll have to release my tools one of these days.

Loolarge
03-10-2006, 10:06 AM
I would like to see some video demonstration on how to set it up rather than of how the results look actually. I mean it sounds all good so far.

ThomasMahler
03-10-2006, 11:57 AM
Could one of you Blur guys maybe talk a little about Face Robot now? Is FR a tool that only makes sense when you're in a production where everythings mo-capped or does it make sense too if you're using standard keyframing methods and no mo-cap at all?

How human-like do models have to be so that FR actually works with them? How does this stuff actually work in combination with Maya, Max or any other package? So, let's say I have to animate models that have caricatured proportions, but are still human - will FR work on them? Or, let's put it this way: Would it have made sense to use FR in a production like King Kong?

Also, let's say I painted all kinds of textures (including displacements) for my model -> Is it possible to preview all this stuff in FR, together with the animation, of course?

The final animation in the making of video is kinda weak, actually. The Rock Falcon stuff we've seen back then was way better than this. I'd really love to hear a little more about the actual workflow, especially when FR is mixed with other packages like Maya. For example, let's say I've to animate a singing and dancing character - How would I mix Maya and Face Robot to get a good result?

There are still so many questions in the room... let's not freak out about the price before we haven't heard some more information about it.

Steve Green
03-10-2006, 12:47 PM
It's way out of my price range, but it's still very interesting.

Again, I'd like to seem some examples of how it works for non-human/cartoon characters, especially the transfer of data between various different characters.

Cheers

Steve

gunslingerblack
03-10-2006, 01:27 PM
for 94 grand it's definitely not worth it, you can get a talented artist that specialises in facial animation for less than that a year just because it's got great features doesn't mean you dont have to have talented people working it either...

AdrianLazar
03-10-2006, 01:53 PM
you don't get it, it's about time saving in the first place
the price it's high for freelancer or small size studios, but i think that middle ones can afford it. It's not about replaceing the animators, it's about increasing the speed.

hundredthirtyseven
03-10-2006, 03:03 PM
And none of you get it right:) 94 k is a big marketing power for Softimage in general. Having the most expensive software means that you have the best software. And how has got the best is the best....well that's how poor people think.

Signal2Noise
03-10-2006, 04:38 PM
As a person mentioned on another forum...

Poser for billionaires!

:D

Lyr
03-10-2006, 04:44 PM
Well I was hoping they would show something at least as good as Gollum, so far the results are disapointing, regardless of how long it took. Also why the assertion that this for games? What solution is Softimage providing that will make the resulting animation viable at runtime? Or is that solution the SDK and a good luck wish? Does it work on anything but the most perfectly symmetrical closed mesh?

gruvsyco
03-10-2006, 05:43 PM
Price seems a little steep but, given their target, I suppose it's not bad. Maybe in a few years we'll see a foundation version for like 20K.

I reckon, within the next month, someone will have created a blender plugin, with poor implementation, crappy functionality, and about a billionth the ability then we'll see a bunch of "You can do this in Blender for free" posts.

gunslingerblack
03-10-2006, 05:46 PM
lets not forget that gollum was done by a group of talented people and regular software, no magic button for that performance.

AmbiDextrose
03-10-2006, 05:54 PM
lets not forget that gollum was done by a group of talented people and regular software, no magic button for that performance.

Yeah, but how many people can duplicate that feat from scratch within a 6-month production schedule? It's quite obvious that the software, in it's current price-point, is not for everyone. If you can, good for you. If you can't, just make do with what you have in the time you're allotted.

EpShot
03-10-2006, 05:59 PM
other studio's have 6-month production schedules?:sad:

vlad74
03-10-2006, 06:05 PM
I think they will drop the price as they did with XSI.

AmbiDextrose
03-10-2006, 06:06 PM
other studio's have 6-month production schedules?:sad:

Sure they do! I can't talk about specifics but I've been helping one production company migrate from a NAS back-end to a SAN one so I've been dealing with a lot of their storage guys and they talk about a number of VFX projects having production schedules of 6 to 9 months.

ntmonkey
03-10-2006, 06:07 PM
Weta, ILM, and Sony are not putting out their development for general use, at any price for that matter. If it's the Kongs and Gollums' level of detail you want, maybe we should ask how much they paid for their technology, and how much money for the salary of the TDs and artist to get to that point. I'll go out on a limb and say it's easily over the price point of Face Robot.

From the LA launch, they showed some features that were not there at Siggy. I don't remember them having the abilty to sculpt target shapes to supplement the solver. They have really gone out and tried to make facial rigging an approach from the artistic perspective, instead of the technical perspective. The workflow is fun and it definately has the potential to achieve good facial animation give the time and talent to do so.

peace,

Lu

eek
03-10-2006, 06:30 PM
Yeah, but how many people can duplicate that feat from scratch within a 6-month production schedule? It's quite obvious that the software, in it's current price-point, is not for everyone. If you can, good for you. If you can't, just make do with what you have in the time you're allotted.

Seeing as someone has written a combination sculpting tool in maya, and is being used at major vfx houses ands its free. It is possible. check out daniel-polk-koob.

DimeS
03-10-2006, 07:03 PM
I've tried checking out what you've mentioned, but haven't found a thing. Any links?

Thanks

Seeing as someone has written a combination sculpting tool in maya, and is being used at major vfx houses ands its free. It is possible. check out daniel-polk-koob.

pearson
03-10-2006, 07:18 PM
Wow, that price takes me back a few years! Back to the good ol days when SGI was king... [sigh]

shingo
03-10-2006, 07:19 PM
Some movies from the launch.

+Starting Face Robot:
http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/intro.mov

Showing how wrinkles can be painted in:
http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/wrinkle.mov

Showing how goals can be sculpted to achieve the exact look you need:
http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/goal.mov

Old Lady, this is the best Face Robot clip I have seen yet:
http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/oldlady.mov

ntmonkey
03-10-2006, 07:20 PM
Wow, that price takes me back a few years! Back to the good ol days when SGI was king... [sigh]

Didn't people get paid a lot more back then because machine and software were so expensive? Maybe that's why we see so many people expecting free work because the software is so cheap.

-Lu

ThomasMahler
03-10-2006, 07:27 PM
Old Lady, this is the best Face Robot clip I have seen yet:
http://www.keegan3d.com/movies/oldlady.mov

Wow, now that looks really good, very nice deformations. I'd really love to see more of this stuff!

MarkusM
03-10-2006, 07:39 PM
Hm. I read the thread quickly, but there's a point that is missing I think. Sure the price tag is high and not for everyone. But ultimattely it is there to deliver capability to companies that can't invest or don't have the time to come up with their own solutions. Also as part of the price is the dedicated r&d team at Softimage. That's powerful if you need to accomplish something new. Something that falls outside of what software can deliver as is.

I am curious to try the product out. I am still unsure how it would fit into a production pipeline and process in the most efficient way. The fact that it automates a lot of the work that a rigger does to create good deformations, great. The relationship between things is amazing, and how those relationships can be tweaked intuitively. What will be interesting to try is how adaptable it is. How you can layer in more intuitive animation controls for the key frame animators. That's a huge part of a riggers work flow. How animators can work with facial animation as part of their normal work flow, not as a specialized step.

I like where the idea of this product is heading. An open frame work that supports the artist and that should be easy to integrate into an existing pipeline.

As far as the quality of what was shown at the show... hm, lets face it... until someone really pushes the envelop with it we don't know what the high end results will look like. Facial rigging is all about refinement. I believe this product allows you to do that. The rest, well, it's just kick ass animation.

Congrats to Michael, Thomas and Javier.

Markus

strangelife
03-10-2006, 08:36 PM
Some really cool movies showcasing capabilities and seems to show alot of promise. Price? Yeah, way to much for your average joe, but perhaps our payoff is the trickle-down technology from its creation. Keeping my fingers crossed...

Zerflag
03-10-2006, 08:43 PM
That whole part at siggraph where they said it can take 8-24 hours + to process the setup was a big turnoff. Especially if it doesn't work. Ill stick with paying a TD to get stuff to work right for that price.

in the version they showed last night at the release party, it took about 2 minutes to process. that's significantly better.

Strob
03-10-2006, 09:31 PM
when I first saw the price I thought it was 99$, in fact that's the price it should be.

At 95,000$ I hope there is a support team included!

the examples are not so realistic. It is far to be as subtle as gollum or king kong rigs.

Rick May
03-10-2006, 09:43 PM
So, I'll ask the obvious "use" questions that no one seems to have approached yet...

Because of its price, studios are only going to be able to afford 1-5 of these systems. It won't be a situation where the 20-30 animators on a feature film all have a license at their desk. Does that mean that one or two guys are going to become the "face animators"?

If so, then you have to look at this from an animation methodology standpoint. When you are doing dialogue heavy shots or something really relies on facial expressions, does the animator doing the body animation have to wait for another "face animator" to take the shot and finish his portion? That totally destroys the animation pipeline that most CG feature companies have implemented. The back and forth introduces more problems than it is worth.

So, now you have two guys doing the animation of one character. Who goes first? The face animator that goes by dialogue and guesses at the facial expressions that may derive from the body movements? Or does the face animator go last and base his motion of the body animation- therefore screwing the body animator (who is going to derive some of his timing frame facial movements).

If you ask me, the whole idea of Face Robot seems screwy. Unless they get this down to a more affordable price- where every animator can have at his desk, then you are asking for problems. No animator in their right mind is going to *want* to hand off control of the face to another person.


Now, if you are dealing with mocap or something, maybe its different. I don't know. I'm not a mocap kind of guy.


Sounds like a nightmare situation to me.

shingo
03-10-2006, 10:09 PM
I disagree.

What " animation pipeline that most CG feature companies have implemented" are you referring to?

ILM has long taken this approach with their own facial system CARI. This worked alongside the performance animation part of the pipeline, but seperate nonetheless.

Facial rigs tend to be heavy and performance/charcater animators want the lightest, fastest rigs possible, so I don't see why this tool would be a contradiction to that appoach.

Also, when working with voice talent (on bigger budject productions), there are two performances done - one before the animation starts and one afterwards, to accomodate editorial and directorial changes.

Also, this system is broken down into the main rigging system (designer) and the other seats (which are cheaper) on which the actual animation is performed. It's hardly based aroudn one hero seat.

So, I'll ask the obvious "use" questions that no one seems to have approached yet...

If so, then you have to look at this from an animation methodology standpoint. When you are doing dialogue heavy shots or something really relies on facial expressions, does the animator doing the body animation have to wait for another "face animator" to take the shot and finish his portion? That totally destroys the animation pipeline that most CG feature companies have implemented. The back and forth introduces more problems than it is worth.

Sounds like a nightmare situation to me.

Rick May
03-10-2006, 10:17 PM
ILM has long taken this approach with their own facial system CARI. This worked alongside the performance animation part of the pipeline, but seperate nonetheless.

I'm unfamiliar with ILM and how they use CARI. However, I would imagine that each animator has access to CARI on their desktop and for most shots it is probably the same animator doing the faces and the body. However, I cannot say for sure.

You gotta understand that my first post is reaction to the price of each seat, and therefore making the facial animation a specialized department that only 1 or 2 people dealt with. It has nothing to do with having separate tools for animating a face and the body. That isn't what I'm talking about and isn't something I have issue with.

BTW, I was speaking of CG features. Not so much effects companies.



Also, when working with voice talent (on bigger budject productions), there are two performances done - one before the animation starts and one afterwards, to accomodate editorial and directorial changes.

huh?



Also, this system is broken down into the main rigging system (designer) and the other seats (which are cheaper) on which the actual animation is performed. It's hardly based aroudn one hero seat.

I didn't read the press release or this thread close enough. I didn't realize there was the $15k animation version. That is more affordable. But, this whole face robot thing still leaves me with a ton more questions. I guess when it comes to evaluate tools, it is just something to consider.

shingo
03-10-2006, 10:30 PM
ILM's CARI is a different app entirely, so I doubt it would be a trivial excercise to move data back and forth without caching or some form of interchange format. There goes your interactivity.

I don't see why CG features would have to digress from this approach either way. As I said before, facial systems tend to be heavy and this would encumber the perfomace animation, which demands light rigs with good playback rates. Having said that, CG features tend to be less focused on realism anyway, which is what FR is designed for.

From what I have heard, voice talent rarely do one performance and dissapear. There are too many variables that can lead to th eneed for alterations from the origicnal voice performance. Do you not agree?

Furthermore, lip sync is not a general art, but the domain of partists that excel it this area. Lip sunc is inseperabel from facial perfomrance, hence a dedicated approach is not that inconceivable.

Pricey for animation seats? Yes I agree, but so is developing this systen in house. It's also pricey to have a TD guru build such a system and then leave.

Rick May
03-10-2006, 10:47 PM
I know very little about Face Robot other than what is said in this thread. But, it really seems geared towards effects work that may or may not use mocap, but leaning on realism. I don't work on effects driven projects or use mocap, so my knowledge is somewhat limited.

I agree that it can be expensive to develop your own tools, but at the same time, there are advantages to it too. I'm not saying FR doesn't have its place. I'm just trying to figure out where that place is. And at the price I thought it was to begin with ($95k for every seat), it was going to be extremely limited.


As far as the voice talent stuff. Generally voice talent comes in and reads lines a bazillion different ways and then the director picks what he wants. Occasionally actors come back to re-read stuff. But, you hope that this doesn't happen that often after animation has happened for obvious reasons. Of course it will happen on occasion.

EpShot
03-10-2006, 11:04 PM
the animator version of the software is only $15k its the one that teh TD uses to set everythign up and tweak that is $94k

shingo
03-10-2006, 11:05 PM
I agree entirely.

The in house tools are something that a studio with a long form project usually will develop. This is certainly the ideal situation. If it's succesfuul, then more power to them, but I suspect FR is not entirely geared towards that client specifically so much as the studio that is somewhere between being able to create the tools and those with fewer resources. If FR creeates any demand, my gues is that it will be project driven and for project with with tight deadlines.

The bottom line is that the people at Softimage spent a lot of time deciding where this product woud best fot an came up with a game plan based on customer feedback. That includes the price point. I suspuect the high price point is intended to keep the user base small, attract more feedback form the field (it is after all a v 1.0 product) and just as importantly, chalk up some sexy malreting material to show the potential of the product.

There is no question that the $95K price tag is far from set in stone (ie. to accomodate heavy discounts inretun for impressive material), but that the price will come down in the near future. Look at Massive. It's obviously a much better product today than when it was first released to the market, but today it's less than 30% of the original price.


I know very little about Face Robot other than what is said in this thread. But, it really seems geared towards effects work that may or may not use mocap, but leaning on realism. I don't work on effects driven projects or use mocap, so my knowledge is somewhat limited.

I agree that it can be expensive to develop your own tools, but at the same time, there are advantages to it too. I'm not saying FR doesn't have its place. I'm just trying to figure out where that place is. And at the price I thought it was to begin with ($95k for every seat), it was going to be extremely limited.

As far as the voice talent stuff. Generally voice talent comes in and reads lines a bazillion different ways and then the director picks what he wants. Occasionally actors come back to re-read stuff. But, you hope that this doesn't happen that often after animation has happened for obvious reasons. Of course it will happen on occasion.

Kabab
03-10-2006, 11:44 PM
the animator version of the software is only $15k its the one that teh TD uses to set everythign up and tweak that is $94k
So you still need a TD + $95k software to set it up? then down stream it to X number of animators at $15k a seat?

Hasn't that bought you back to square 1? except the only difference is it takes the TD longer to setup the facial rig but the software investment is far lower.

Whats the maintenance /support / upgrade cost?

From what i can see its not doing anything that the end result is not possible in any other software but the process appears to be far supperior / faster.

So if i buy Face Robot could i fire 1/3rd of my animation staff to get my monies worth? :)

SatoriGFX
03-11-2006, 12:01 AM
when I first saw the price I thought it was 99$, in fact that's the price it should be.

At 95,000$ I hope there is a support team included!

the examples are not so realistic. It is far to be as subtle as gollum or king kong rigs.

How much time and money do you think WETA spent developing in house software/techniques (and to purchase any commercial software they may have used) to be able to produce the results they did with Gollum and Kong? I can assure you it wasn't peanuts.

I think you ought to go back and watch the old lady clip again. If you are still completely unimpressed I suggest you have your eyes checked.

Kabab
03-11-2006, 12:05 AM
How much time and money do you think WETA spent developing in house software/techniques (and to purchase any commercial software they may have used) to be able to produce the results they did with Gollum and Kong? I can assure you it wasn't peanuts.

I think you ought to go back and watch the old lady clip again. If you are still completely unimpressed I suggest you have your eyes checked.
Its not like they are going to throw away that technology now are they?

The results are fantastic but trying to seperate someone from nearly $100,000+ is not easy i suggest you try it sometime :)

EpShot
03-11-2006, 12:09 AM
it depends on your development cycle.
If you have 6 months. you may not need it.

when we used it for X-men 2 legends, i think they did all the stuff in a couple days and it only occupied 1 or 2 guys(i think, but dont' really know for sure, since i wasn't involved)some results were better than others, depending on the character model, but that was also a beta version.


lets say you charge $1000 per day per animator. and have 10 animators.
saving 9 days of work would pay for the software.

rock
03-11-2006, 12:42 AM
Wow. Can't wait for Face Robot|The Student Edition $65,878USD. :scream:

Kabab
03-11-2006, 12:49 AM
it depends on your development cycle.
If you have 6 months. you may not need it.

when we used it for X-men 2 legends, i think they did all the stuff in a couple days and it only occupied 1 or 2 guys(i think, but dont' really know for sure, since i wasn't involved)some results were better than others, depending on the character model, but that was also a beta version.


lets say you charge $1000 per day per animator. and have 10 animators.
saving 9 days of work would pay for the software.
These are good examples :)

Although it sounds like some animators might get less work now.....

EpShot
03-11-2006, 01:18 AM
These are good examples :)

Although it sounds like some animators might get less work now.....

which would allow the studio to take on more work (or fire the excess animators:twisted:)

really though, it seems quite expensive considering the cost of software.

RockinAkin
03-11-2006, 02:24 AM
Man, that video of the old woman is hella impressive.
Still got some major uncanny valley stuff going on, but for an automated system - damn!

SatoriGFX
03-11-2006, 03:22 AM
Its not like they are going to throw away that technology now are they?

The results are fantastic but trying to seperate someone from nearly $100,000+ is not easy i suggest you try it sometime :)

You're right, WETA won't. Thing is, there is dozens of other studios who don't have access to WETA's in house software and haven't, can't or don't want to create their own.

eek
03-11-2006, 04:28 AM
How much time and money do you think WETA spent developing in house software/techniques (and to purchase any commercial software they may have used) to be able to produce the results they did with Gollum and Kong? I can assure you it wasn't peanuts.

I think you ought to go back and watch the old lady clip again. If you are still completely unimpressed I suggest you have your eyes checked.

Im sorry but that clip wasnt that impressive, it had a bunch of vertex bunching, the corners of the mouth where going at right-angles i.e straight, The bottom lip half way through explodes down. Surface to bone interaction is its selling point. It seems to use soft/hard body dynamics to check for skin sliding and surface interpenatration. But theres just some very wierd flakyness going on. Plus the fact that the mesh has to be super hi res to allow the skin to actually wrinkle. All great but no way good for games.

Ive seen a ton of research on facial analysis and it dates back 30-40 years, some driven by mask data, vertex derivetives, soft selection analyisis, muscles, bones, combination sculting, n-space sculpting, data-driven, capture, video-data derivaties, soft body, rigid body, even 3d motion scanning. Some of it works great in some situations some dont in others.

As to gollum, like i said in my previous post daniel-pook-kolb has writting a blend-shape-tool in maya that basically does n-space combination sculpting ala gollum and vfx houses are using it.

So it depends, many studios have there own way about doing things, they have specific requirements. I'd like to see this on a creature or a dog or animal, before making any final judgement. Humanoids are fine, creature setup can be hard!

SheepFactory
03-11-2006, 04:50 AM
So it depends, many studios have there own way about doing things, they have specific requirements. I'd like to see this on a creature or a dog or animal, before making any final judgement. Humanoids are fine, creature setup can be hard!

Unless they changed it in the last three months Face Robot does not rig non humanoid creature faces. When they were demoing it to us they mentioned it can only be used with human faces at the moment.

EpShot
03-11-2006, 05:05 AM
Man, that video of the old woman is hella impressive.
Still got some major uncanny valley stuff going on, but for an automated system - damn!

the eye don't move. they stare straight ahead the whole time, not sure why they didn't do anything abou it, certianyl would have sold the shot better.

SatoriGFX
03-11-2006, 05:05 AM
Im sorry but that clip wasnt that impressive, it had a bunch of vertex bunching, the corners of the mouth where going at right-angles i.e straight, The bottom lip half way through explodes down. Surface to bone interaction is its selling point. It seems to use soft/hard body dynamics to check for skin sliding and surface interpenatration. But theres just some very wierd flakyness going on. Plus the fact that the mesh has to be super hi res to allow the skin to actually wrinkle. All great but no way good for games.

I can't say I personally have seen better "human" facial animation (the true test for obvious reasons). Can you point to some examples of fully lit "human" facial animation that are clearly superior?

eek
03-11-2006, 05:55 AM
Digital domains, younger version of james brown.

Jozvex
03-11-2006, 12:21 PM
Women these days... one second they're "proud" http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/image_gallery/images/Kitty_proud_thumb.jpg and the next they're "kinda lost" http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/image_gallery/images/Kitty_lost_thumb.jpg , though you'd never even notice.

:surprised

SatoriGFX
03-11-2006, 12:38 PM
Digital domains, younger version of james brown.

How about something that I can see without travelling to Seattle.

Laa-Yosh
03-11-2006, 02:42 PM
Good things about the old lady animation:
- the dynamics of the animation itself, but this is the result of mocap
- the way the whole face is moving, acting as it should - like a mass of muscle and other tissues
Bad things about the animation:
- loss/sudden creation of volume in the lips and some other places
- too much of softbody dynamics
- face distorted into strange shapes all the time

The Kitty stuff is somewhat better, but smooth 'perfect' faces are always somewhat more simple IMHO.

Overall, the same feelings that I've had after last year's Rock Falcon. It's a lot more dynamic then what you'd get from a basic blend shape based system, it's obviously faster to get these results too; but it's not more realistic at all, and in fact it's looking a lot more alien and strange at times. And to get good results you'd still need to move in and sculpt shapes and wrinkles manually, and you still can't skip the work on the topology either.
For all this, $100K is too much for almost every studio. The only real market is CG work that needs somewhat realistic looking humans, and lots of them - no wonder that Softimage worked with Blur on this. But how many other studios have to do a lot of CG humans with quick turnaround? When all-CG features are almost always stylized, and movie effects don't really need CG humans at all?

agreenster
03-11-2006, 04:12 PM
Man, I'm actually surprised by all the positive responses this is getting! I thought the animation looked terrible, unexpressive, and stiff. If CG characters could inject botox all over their face, THIS is what it would look like.

I mean, this is just going to help produce more media content with the creepiness of Polar Express. Also, it looks like in order to use Face Robot it looks like you have to spend SO much time, money and effort on equipment and support people that you might as well just hire 10 animators and do it cheaper (and get better results too).

And everyone is using Gollum and Kong as examples of good facial mocap. Take it from someone who knows Weta animators: the facial mocap data they imported was used as a guide only; nearly every key that made it to print was placed by an animator. (oh, and you didnt hear this from me, but weta's "advanced" facial setup was....wait for it.....blendshapes. Lots and lots of them. Dont believe everything you see on the behind the scenes DVD)

Sorry guys, but I'm sticking to the tried and true method of animators making the call on facial animation. Every animator worth his salt knows that the only convincing animation is expressive and exaggerated and done properly. You'll never get that with a mocap system without a lot of cleanup (so why even waste your time?)

(I didnt read all the posts, but I assume others share my opinion)

agreenster
03-11-2006, 04:17 PM
lets say you charge $1000 per day per animator. and have 10 animators.
saving 9 days of work would pay for the software.

1000 per day is the most unrealistic thing I've EVER heard.

agreenster
03-11-2006, 04:20 PM
I can't say I personally have seen better "human" facial animation (the true test for obvious reasons). Can you point to some examples of fully lit "human" facial animation that are clearly superior?

You've never been to Siggraph, have you? There are TONS of examples. Do some research, there's no point in listing them all here.

gunslingerblack
03-11-2006, 04:32 PM
Women these days... one second they're "proud" http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/image_gallery/images/Kitty_proud_thumb.jpg and the next they're "kinda lost" http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/image_gallery/images/Kitty_lost_thumb.jpg , though you'd never even notice.

now thats 94 thousand dollars of subtlety right there, what was i thinking....

PS gollum's facial animation wasnt blendshapes....they were magic blendshapes.
"how do we do this....i know hit the "gollum" button....excellent"

shingo
03-11-2006, 04:53 PM
Your wrong about gaming. There are a bnch of ways to connect normal maps to deformations. We've done a number of tests usign both normal maps and displacemetns and connecting them to deformtions, so FR would add a level of quality on top of that again.

Im sorry but that clip wasnt that impressive, it had a bunch of vertex bunching, the corners of the mouth where going at right-angles i.e straight, The bottom lip half way through explodes down. Surface to bone interaction is its selling point. It seems to use soft/hard body dynamics to check for skin sliding and surface interpenatration. But theres just some very wierd flakyness going on. Plus the fact that the mesh has to be super hi res to allow the skin to actually wrinkle. All great but no way good for games.

Ive seen a ton of research on facial analysis and it dates back 30-40 years, some driven by mask data, vertex derivetives, soft selection analyisis, muscles, bones, combination sculting, n-space sculpting, data-driven, capture, video-data derivaties, soft body, rigid body, even 3d motion scanning. Some of it works great in some situations some dont in others.

As to gollum, like i said in my previous post daniel-pook-kolb has writting a blend-shape-tool in maya that basically does n-space combination sculpting ala gollum and vfx houses are using it.

So it depends, many studios have there own way about doing things, they have specific requirements. I'd like to see this on a creature or a dog or animal, before making any final judgement. Humanoids are fine, creature setup can be hard!

Lyr
03-11-2006, 05:19 PM
Your wrong about gaming. There are a bnch of ways to connect normal maps to deformations. We've done a number of tests usign both normal maps and displacemetns and connecting them to deformtions, so FR would add a level of quality on top of that again.

Are you really going to carry all those normal maps around in memory? The only time that would be useful is during in-engine cinematic sequences. Sorry but at this time I do not see how Softimage can claim that Face Robot is useful for games as they have not presented a runtime solution.

eek
03-11-2006, 05:34 PM
Your wrong about gaming. There are a bnch of ways to connect normal maps to deformations. We've done a number of tests usign both normal maps and displacemetns and connecting them to deformtions, so FR would add a level of quality on top of that again.

Yes, thankyou for that. Normal maps are fine for gaming and im not disputing them at all (we used them at my last place). Also are relief maps, and displacement maps, oh and offset relief maps driven but joint ange. Heck maybe morph targets with vertex masks using grey scale displacements.

Lyr, it depends on the amount of shader slots you have.

Problem is this is using a gigapoly mesh, over 300 thousand faces and the deformation is soft/hard body driven to drive mesh topology, the wrinkles are not maps they are the mesh. They are generated on the fly, ie they are unique. Try doing that in an engine. There are no maps involved.

Lyr
03-11-2006, 05:38 PM
Try doing that in an engine. There are no maps involved.

I think we are agreeing here. I haven't seen anything from Softimage that even hints at how Face Robot might actually be useful in a game.

eek
03-11-2006, 05:40 PM
but weta's "advanced" facial setup was....wait for it.....blendshapes. Lots and lots of them. Dont believe everything you see on the behind the scenes DVD)


For gollum it was n-space combination sculpture, a little different from your plain blend shapes. Im still trying to get my head round it (the math is complex) For kong i dont know - but the gui looks absolutly amazing. It might be the same? i dont know.

eek
03-11-2006, 05:41 PM
I think we are agreeing here. I haven't seen anything from Softimage that even hints at how Face Robot might actually be useful in a game.

exactly Lyr, in total agreement.

FloydBishop
03-11-2006, 05:53 PM
I'm sorry, but I think this looks like a very expensive experiment that Softimage is now trying to pay for with a huge price tag.

The facial animation it creates looks horrible to me. The fact that it cannot do non humanoid faces is absurd in my opinion, given the price tag.

If Softimage wants to get (or get back) some of the Maya userbase, this is NOT the way to do it.

shingo
03-11-2006, 06:14 PM
If youčre clever about it, you probabyl dont have to.

You coudl get by with one or a few normal maps which are occulded by the stress maps produced by FR.

No need for runtime specific solver in this scenario.

Are you really going to carry all those normal maps around in memory? The only time that would be useful is during in-engine cinematic sequences. Sorry but at this time I do not see how Softimage can claim that Face Robot is useful for games as they have not presented a runtime solution.

shingo
03-11-2006, 06:16 PM
Again, ther eis nothinf preventing a normal map (s) from achieving close to the same results.

FR does produce stress maps, which corespond to tension or compression of edge lenghts, which in turn can me used to modulate one or two maps that contain the wrinkle detail.



Problem is this is using a gigapoly mesh, over 300 thousand faces and the deformation is soft/hard body driven to drive mesh topology, the wrinkles are not maps they are the mesh. They are generated on the fly, ie they are unique. Try doing that in an engine. There are no maps involved.

shingo
03-11-2006, 06:21 PM
I disgaree.

If you are animating non-humanoid faces, chances are that you are aimng for a stylised look anyway.

FR is not an attempt at winnign back the May auser base. Nothign short of earth shattering will achieve that because the 3D market is saturated. FR is aiming for new markets a la Massive or Endorphin.

And again, you are ignoring the facts that:

- the price was decided based on feedback from key accounts.
- the price includes bery high level of support form Softimage
- such a price point will always accomodate heqavy discounting until the product becomes more mainstream.


The facial animation it creates looks horrible to me. The fact that it cannot do non humanoid faces is absurd in my opinion, given the price tag.

If Softimage wants to get (or get back) some of the Maya userbase, this is NOT the way to do it.

eek
03-11-2006, 06:25 PM
If youčre clever about it, you probabyl dont have to.

You coudl get by with one or a few normal maps which are occulded by the stress maps produced by FR.

No need for runtime specific solver in this scenario.

True, yes but your now talking about a post process, that you wouldnt want to use a 95,000$ program for - thats a little overkill for making maps!

Hmm... yes you could use tension maps from face|robot, but you could do the same skinning it to bones. Also the maps coming from it would be pretty crazy. As i thought TMs are a generalization, not exact i.e you wont a generally area with the tension is happening not tension for every wrinkle. Do you get what i mean?, the map from that wrinkle will drive a normal map or whatever inside that wrinkle - where really you want a tension map for the forehead, the cheek, etc etc that drives a normal map of wrinkles.


The facial animation it creates looks horrible to me. The fact that it cannot do non humanoid faces is absurd in my opinion, given the price tag.

yes, exactly. Heck if i was given 2 years on pure human faces i think i could come up with something pretty - theres soo much research out there on this subject. Right from walters to elkman - the fact that it doesnt support creature heads is absurb given the fact that its meant to rely on muscle topology.

Lyr
03-11-2006, 06:29 PM
Again, ther eis nothinf preventing a normal map (s) from achieving close to the same results.

FR does produce stress maps, which corespond to tension or compression of edge lenghts, which in turn can me used to modulate one or two maps that contain the wrinkle detail.

Except that normal maps aren't going to blink eyes, open the mouth pucker the lips, inflate the cheeks, etc. You could use normal maps to get the high frequency details, noone debates that. However the wisdom of trucking around a handful of medium rez normal maps to get those animating details is debatable.

What solution does Face Robot provide for moving points in 3d space at runtime?

shingo
03-11-2006, 06:31 PM
Yes I you are right. I was referrig to high frequency details.

I am not familiar with how run time engines work with moving vertices, but surely there must be a solution based on the demos we've seen for NextGen platforms.

Except that normal maps aren't going to blink eyes, open the mouth pucker the lips, inflate the cheeks, etc. You could use normal maps to get the high frequency details, noone debates that. However the wisdom of trucking around a handful of medium rez normal maps to get those animating details is debatable.

What solution does Face Robot provide for moving points in 3d space at runtime?

Anticulturist
03-11-2006, 06:32 PM
At Siggraph, when they were trumpeting 3Democracy, and unveiled FR, I had a misguided belief, wow, what an oportunity for the artists, the technicaly chalenged, or the ppl coming from another software, to start animating much more frendly, without to much complications..

Sadly, they decided to play high end, marketing to studios having already a solution in place, when the impact on little users would have been tremendous.

Bah, the time for 50000$ softwares was 10 years ago, now other solutions are already in work and some unknown guy working in a garage gona bring similar stuf with less option but EASY to use and CHEAP.


I think Martin's minutes, gona be fun to read this month :)

shingo
03-11-2006, 06:38 PM
A parametric approach to anything is going to hit a wall if you are trying to solve a problem that is too general. My guess is that the facial anatomy of a humanoid and non huamoids are different enough that each would a require unique approach.

I also suspect that if you are animating non humanoids, you ar not going to be aiming for realistic reauslts so much a stylised results. Either that, or you are wil eb animating taling animasl (a la raving Stripes) and you are greatly restricted with how much facial expression you can impement.



Heck if i was given 2 years on pure human faces i think i could come up with something pretty - theres soo much research out there on this subject. Right from walters to elkman - the fact that it doesnt support creature heads is absurb given the fact that its meant to rely on muscle topology.

Laa-Yosh
03-11-2006, 07:03 PM
Both Gollum and Kong are not human, yet far from stylized and rather photorealistic/hyperrealistic. So is Aslan in Narnia, and Draco in Dragonheart, and Yoda in Star Wars...

shingo
03-11-2006, 07:52 PM
Hmm, I suspect that the human-ness of Gollum is a matter of interpretation. I would consider Gollum very much human. The demos from DIGGRAPh 2005 of FR involved a character that was heavily stylised, and could have passed for a troll or orc like character.

As for Kong, I suspect that the muscularture and facial structure of a gorilla has a lot in common with humans.

Both Gollum and Kong are not human, yet far from stylized and rather photorealistic/hyperrealistic. So is Aslan in Narnia, and Draco in Dragonheart, and Yoda in Star Wars...

eek
03-11-2006, 08:19 PM
I think were all going round in circles here.

I am not familiar with how run time engines work with moving vertices, but surely there must be a solution based on the demos we've seen for NextGen platforms.

You talking about blendshapes? or skin in engine? Generally most game facial rigs use bones. At present with the demos of F|R theres nothing out there in an engine to drive that kind of mesh data - maybe in 5/10 years.

shingo
03-11-2006, 08:34 PM
Where does it say that you cannot utilise FR for lower res meshes?

In any case, I work at a games company (cinematics), and the face geometry that is being produced for nextgen is pretty dense. Certainly adequate for cinemtics and I suspect, even mid-res film characters.

If deformation systems for games involve bones, then I I still don't see what the problem is. I have often baked deformations from meshes to bones to subesequently use to deform the mesh.

So we have bones for the deformations and normal maps for the high frequency detail. I really don't see what the contradiction is.

Generally most game facial rigs use bones. At present with the demos of F|R theres nothing out there in an engine to drive that kind of mesh data - maybe in 5/10 years.

gunslingerblack
03-11-2006, 08:40 PM
i heard that gollum and kong were so complex of a rig that they had to get elves to rig them.....ELVES!

FloydBishop
03-11-2006, 08:48 PM
i heard that gollum and kong were so complex of a rig that they had to get elves to rig them.....ELVES!

I heard it was Elvis.

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/elvis-portrait3sm.jpg

"I'm glad you liked my facial rig. Thank you... thank you very much."

Mic_Ma
03-11-2006, 09:16 PM
95000000*&^%$billion $ ?

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Just wait 3 years and they will sell it for $299.99

:D

Phearielord
03-11-2006, 10:07 PM
As to gollum, like i said in my previous post daniel-pook-kolb has writting a blend-shape-tool in maya that basically does n-space combination sculpting ala gollum and vfx houses are using it.

here's the link for those of you who haven't checked it out yet.
He's got some very nice tools!
http://dpk.stargrav.com/

eek
03-11-2006, 10:49 PM
Where does it say that you cannot utilise FR for lower res meshes?

In any case, I work at a games company (cinematics), and the face geometry that is being produced for nextgen is pretty dense. Certainly adequate for cinemtics and I suspect, even mid-res film characters.

If deformation systems for games involve bones, then I I still don't see what the problem is. I have often baked deformations from meshes to bones to subesequently use to deform the mesh.

So we have bones for the deformations and normal maps for the high frequency detail. I really don't see what the contradiction is.

It makes no point to use low res mesh with f|r because the point of it is to emulate real-world wrinkles/creasing/bunching/inflation. When the mesh becomes low enough for games you ustilizing maybe 20-40% of the tool - and thats 20-40% of a 100,000$ program.

I work for a little company, and your right in cinematics its perfect for. Its pre rendered, binked up or whatever and perfectly fine for, when its used for in-game thats another matter. Infact game cinematic is probably a perfect area for this, because your needing a pretty reliable solution and pretty good results, where as film/vfx house generally have an inhouse team on facials, and if they were to use this it would be ripped to pieces with scripts/plugins etc

Haha there is no contradiction, im just saying this is one unified tool, for the lot, where talking about bones, normal maps, blendshapes etc all fine for games. But driving a mesh this high ingame with a soft/hard body solution i think is just not possible atm I mean thats the whole point of it. Very hires facial simulation.

EternalArt
03-11-2006, 10:50 PM
Damn ... it's amazing software but the price is toooo big :eek:
Maybe later you will countdown :eek:

SatoriGFX
03-11-2006, 11:17 PM
You've never been to Siggraph, have you? There are TONS of examples. Do some research, there's no point in listing them all here.

True enough, I've never been to Siggraph. I figured with everyone talking about how crappy Face Robot is they might be able to suggest some easily available examples to compare to (like examples from movies or something availale for viewing online) that was clearly better. That's all.

I assume that what Avid feels makes Face Robot valuable is a combination of results and the time required to obtain those results. In these days of cheaper and cheaper 3d apps (with Avid having the best bargain around in Foundation) I would assume that Avid wouldn't suddenly go the opposite direction and grossly overcharge for a product. It would be a total about face. But not being in the business myself, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I have just never seen all of this amazing human facial animation that everyone claims is superior to what Face Robot does but at a fraction of the cost (though again, maybe using Face Robot is really fast which equates to money saved, I don't know).

I guess I will just have to keep on keeping my eyes open for this amazing human facial animation you're all talking about cause I haven't seen it yet myself.

eek
03-11-2006, 11:47 PM
The big issue i see is which market is this aimed at?

shingo
03-12-2006, 03:21 AM
I take your point, but I think you may dfind FR to be more felxible than you realise. You'll probably be surprised to learn then that there is great interest from the technology and mo-cap group to incorporate FR for games.



Haha there is no contradiction, im just saying this is one unified tool, for the lot, where talking about bones, normal maps, blendshapes etc all fine for games. But driving a mesh this high ingame with a soft/hard body solution i think is just not possible atm I mean thats the whole point of it. Very hires facial simulation.

eek
03-12-2006, 04:41 AM
mocap is fine for games, ive been looking into it heck my rig supports it. The issue is the point of f|r. I mean its for super hires meshes, super hires details at a super hires price!!! hehe I could build a bone rig that supports mocap, the point is the mesh. F|R works on gigapoly meshes. Thats the point, the wrinkles come from that - yes ofcourse you could bake down defomation or get normal map deriviates but would would you wanna spend 100,000$ for a map making tool!

Its not a case of it being flexible F|R will work on non-creature just human style head i bet of any rez, but whats the point of using it on a low poly rig when you could do the same thing with your own custom solution using bones or morphs. Its a high rez solution- thats the point of it. Thats where it gets its deformation.

Im not disputing anything you say, all i care about is the mesh. I just dont see any reason to use it for low poly when you could build a good solid solution without using it. This is the point where does F|R fit in, its between super hires and low res, this middle ground.

I just dont see a point to spending 94,000 dollars on a solution for med - low rez meshes that either support mocap or not, when you could build your own to fit your own pipe extremely well. Facial rigs are a finite thing there for the pipe you build them for, a one hit wonder facial solution for only human heads makes no point whatsoever for me - im sorry. I see the tech and its amazing, but most massive studios have there own inhouse solution they spend years developing. This is why i get back to game cinematics -this is perfect for. Its a middle ground solution.

Im not surprised, that the mocap tech group is looking at it because F|R supports mocap as a key part plus the fact that hand animation is keyable on top. I just dont see the reasoning behind spend 100 grand on a solution to support a solution. This is meant to be 'the' solution. But a lot of people here have been turned off by it. And rightly so - its weird, basically thr motion is cold and zombie like. The point of animation even realistic is to over excentuate movement, bite the mouth longer, say mms for 2 frames more. Not to be dead not to just capture but to add to.

If the price comes down, and it supports games accurately i.e drive bones based on its dynamic solutions im all for it. Then it can be used, in game development. But this price tag is ridiculous .

So everything your saying is true, yes it would be great for games if it becomes far cheaper and supports general game definitions. But as a filler to a final result i see no point at all - a studio could use more fitting solution to there own studio pipe, working with there own mesh without ever needing this.

gunslingerblack
03-12-2006, 05:16 AM
thank you eek, i believe youve covered everything that needed to be said

oktawu
03-12-2006, 09:41 AM
only one thing to say

Eve Solal techdemo, Attitude Studios Paris...2 years ago
just check it out
and it aint no gollum, no kong and no million dollar rnd
just a studio in paris....and just a test
and it looks a dozen times better than this 100k face robot...that from what i see truly stands up for its name...it does robots
maybe i am overeacting...as i can truly see the potential for it...but 100k, pardon me
just look up for those eve videos..and u tell me..they are not at least on par with this facerobot, and they were done with 2k software, not a hundred

AdrianLazar
03-12-2006, 10:09 AM
Man, i'll sayit again, it's all about speed. You all are talking about king kong and gollum face rigs, but how long took them to make those rigs? And how many people where involved? What i saw until now about FR left me the impression that is 100 times faster, and it's one man job. Sure it's not the most realistic face animation ever, but how many demos showed the maximum that can be done? This is the job of the studios, to push the software as far as can go, and i think that we must wait until then to make jugement about the quality.

mustique
03-12-2006, 10:24 AM
Yep, FaceRobot has an ridiculous name and pricetag. :[

Let's face it. İt's software that best fits the needs for big game and film studios, that own Vicon mocap suites and don't have the time or the staff (but money) to develop their inhouse solutions.

SI surely knows there aren't much clients of these kind. I'd be very surprised if they
manage to sell 100 boxes of the 95K version.

As for game res character work. Baking normal maps will take care of it. The only advantage of FRobot here, might be that it takes a very short time to get these maps baked out.

shingo
03-12-2006, 03:48 PM
Everyone also seems to be forgetting that this is a v1.0. It may not be perfect at the moment, but the price tag comes with a heavy support and development contract from Softimage .

By the time it becomes a v2.0, it will definitly be cheaper. Massive first shipped as US$40k, and now costs less than a third of that.

Yep, FaceRobot has an ridiculous name and pricetag. :[

Let's face it. İt's software that best fits the needs for big game and film studios, that own Vicon mocap suites and don't have the time or the staff (but money) to develop their inhouse solutions.

SI surely knows there aren't much clients of these kind. I'd be very surprised if they
manage to sell 100 boxes of the 95K version.

As for game res character work. Baking normal maps will take care of it. The only advantage of FRobot here, might be that it takes a very short time to get these maps baked out.

baycityblues41
03-12-2006, 05:12 PM
I think 95k is a bit steep too, but I have to say I was impressed with how Jeff Wilson was able to take a static head and within a few minutes have a pretty impressive rig to start moving around. Anyone who was at the event will remember that he didnt load up another scene, he picked a few points/markers on the face and hit generate. I also gathered from the event that for 95k a box just doesnt come to your door, it sounds like you get a heaping help of support to make sure your project is going to be a success. If the package was cheap there might be a flood of users which would overwhelm the support staff for the product leaving no one happy.

Look at games like Halo or HL2 or any other game for that matter, that facial is horrible. I think FR will at least help those companies quickly rig up and make blend shapes.

The old lady is pretty dope I have to admit.

And ya know, at least Softimage is innovating and focusing on characters instead of firing good people and trying to figure how to make crappy Max talk back and forth to Maya....thrillsville.

Nice Job Softimage, im glad I made it to a great event at a great venue. Free top shelf booze at the Sony lot- how can anyone complain!? Speaking of Sony, anyone have Tim Miller on video or audio giving Sony the big FU? That was hysterical!

Lorex
03-12-2006, 05:51 PM
I'm sorry but this Kitty Hunting image gallery just looks stupid. If they're seriously trying to sell 94k worth of software with this kind of promottional material, best of luck to them...

Laa-Yosh
03-12-2006, 07:23 PM
The face shapes in the making of... video are actually quite better than the still images suggest...

shingo
03-12-2006, 08:03 PM
And anyone who buys any tools based on a couple of stills on a web site has got rocks in their head - irrespective of the price.

Do you honestly believe anyone woudl make a descision without a complete in house evaluation?

I'm sorry but this Kitty Hunting image gallery just looks stupid. If they're seriously trying to sell 94k worth of software with this kind of promottional material, best of luck to them...

Lyr
03-12-2006, 08:14 PM
Do you honestly believe anyone woudl make a descision without a complete in house evaluation?

At over $100k for a viable Face Robot workflow the evaluation is going to go all the way to the top with people who know nothing about actual production making decisions. No studio is going to just throw $100+k at a problem without a massive internal political showdown (yay endless meetings!). Softimage really should have thought about the price more realistically in terms of corporate budget politics.

Will Face Robot boost productivity enough to offset the immense amount of time wasted spent on debating whether or not to buy it in the first place?


p.s. I still don't believe it is a viable solution for games, and I won't believe it is a viable solution for games till I see it with my own two eyes. For 100k+ it better damn well work out of the box at run time.

shingo
03-12-2006, 08:27 PM
All of this was to be taken into account before the product went into beta. I know because our studio registered interest.

A number of key sites were used and provided testing and feedback.

House politics will take place irrespective of FR.

At over $100k for a viable Face Robot workflow the evaluation is going to go all the way to the top with people who know nothing about actual production making decisions. No studio is going to just throw $100+k at a problem without a massive internal political showdown (yay endless meetings!). Softimage really should have thought about the price more realistically in terms of corporate budget politics.

Will Face Robot boost productivity enough to offset the immense amount of time wasted spent on debating whether or not to buy it in the first place?


p.s. I still don't believe it is a viable solution for games, and I won't believe it is a viable solution for games till I see it with my own two eyes. For 100k+ it better damn well work out of the box at run time.

Lyr
03-12-2006, 08:38 PM
All of this was to be taken into account before the product went into beta. I know because our studio registered interest.

A number of key sites were used and provided testing and feedback.

House politics will take place irrespective of FR.


Not if it were only $10,000, that would easily fly under the radar of the higher ups. You start getting into amounts over $20,000 and more suits start getting involved making everyones life harder. A decision to use Face Robot will most likely be not because it's a good tool, but because too many people have a political stake in it.

Lorex
03-12-2006, 09:17 PM
Do you honestly believe anyone woudl make a descision without a complete in house evaluation?

No. Of course not. Incompetent people making uninformed decisions, that never happens. Thank god.

But really, all I'm saying is no matter how great the product is, this KH image gallery is just awful. The captions don't match the pictures and some of the images are way too similar. It's just nuts of them to leave it that way... imho.

EpShot
03-12-2006, 09:32 PM
everyone mentions in house development.

but lets thinks about it, 10 very people dedicated 2 years towards the development of this. why should we expect a studio to come up with as good a solution significantly faster. lets say they have a 2 really talented people, and they only take 1 year doing. I'd think people of that calibre woudl have salary between $100-200k


(but i still think its too expensive, but i'm not in a position to set the costs, and i think they can get away with it. imo, they coudl have done $40-50k, and gotten a bigger return, but i suppose they feel confidant a better(and quicker) solution won't present itself for a few years, and they can lower the cost later for everyone else)

Lyr
03-12-2006, 09:43 PM
everyone mentions in house development.

but lets thinks about it, 10 very people dedicated 2 years towards the development of this. why should we expect a studio to come up with as good a solution significantly faster. lets say they have a 2 really talented people, and they only take 1 year doing. I'd think people of that calibre woudl have salary between $100-200k


But the inhouse solution will be driven by the needs of the pipeline, not what a commercial developer thinks they can market. With an inhouse solution you have the source code, it runs on the platforms you need it to. Need more seats of the in house solution because your staffing up for a major project? Just go onto the network and install, no need to budget for additional licenses and get approval from the bean counters and the endless layers of middle management.

With in house tools the people doing the work are in control, with commercial software you expose your pipeline to the bean counters. With the costs of Face Robot I would much rather get a programmer over a single seat commercial software.

Iysun
03-12-2006, 09:52 PM
The only thing I am dissapointed about is I thought it was going to be something that nearly any animator can afford, the way it was was being touted just made it seem that way to me. I was even half expecting that maybe it would be included in XSI advanced 6.0... boy was I wrong.

I think its unfair to compare these demos to movies like King Kong though. I am sure if the same group of artists who worked on Kong or another film spent countless hours with face robot we would see similar results... I think those demos are pretty incredible, especialy from a technical standpoint. They showed enough to prove that gollum like facial animations would be very possible with the right team of artists.

still though 95k. =(

EpShot
03-12-2006, 09:54 PM
to be honest, i've heard mostly horror stories about in house software solutions from all my senior collegues.

but the nature of blur is off the shelf software.:shrug:so it could be bias.


but back F|R

it would still be feat if they were able to develope it much more quickly than 2 years, and for less than several hundred $k. certainly there could be benifits, but how many, and for how much more?

edit// as far as Gollum and king kong, these movies had production cycles of years, was dozens of people. even then they probably coudl have gotten more information onto the character quicker with F|R and then maybe saved a few month work of preliminary animation (or maybe not, but it seems with the flexibilty it coudl save quite a bit of time on something with long or short production schedules. but i am still coming to the tabel thinking about our pipe lines of... days or weeks (if we're lucky ;) )

oh, and i only sound like a XSI sales rep cause most people are arguing against it, so i am mostly am playing devils advequet, but i do think they can 'get away with it' .

shingo
03-12-2006, 10:10 PM
Yes you have a point.

There are still many unknowns to this tool. People are comparing this to Massive in terms of the niche it fills, but Massive already came pre-packled with impressive credentials.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what is achieved with it in real world situations. That will be the real test, and logic would dictate that Softimage are working towards this aim for the time being, at the expense of selling seats. The part about management being convinced is not the issue at this stage, because those who beta tested FR most likely have already made purchasing commitments.

When Massive first hit the streets, it was US40k. it was prohibitive not because it was better then than it is now, but because the developers knew that they could only succesfully support a handful of clients until the product became refined and suitable for a larger user base.

I suspect that v1.0 FR in the hands of novices would liekly present many frustrations. v1.0 of any product is a minefield of unknowns that can only be ironed out by being put through it's paces.

Not if it were only $10,000, that would easily fly under the radar of the higher ups. You start getting into amounts over $20,000 and more suits start getting involved making everyones life harder. A decision to use Face Robot will most likely be not because it's a good tool, but because too many people have a political stake in it.

eek
03-12-2006, 11:03 PM
massive also came about from the development from a feature. It was built as a tool to support the production of the trilogy. I think? right?

Kabab
03-12-2006, 11:17 PM
Ok but before Massive was there a good crowd simulation software package available?

Also there is a big difference between 40K and 95K and for 55k less Massive does alot more.

shingo
03-12-2006, 11:25 PM
Yes you are right. Point being that taking it from an in house tool to making it availabel for the masses was not as simple as 123. In spite fo the amazing results it produced, it's acceptance was not instantaneous.

FR came about from the development of a request by Blur and was implmented for it's productions. Blur have used it longer than anyone else and they are big fans of FR, which is not insignificant given that they are a MAX house.

massive also came about from the development from a feature. It was built as a tool to support the production of the trilogy. I think? right?

mustique
03-13-2006, 12:50 AM
... And ya know, at least Softimage is innovating and focusing on characters instead of firing good people and trying to figure how to make crappy Max talk back and forth to Maya....thrillsville...

Being a Maya fanboy, I absolutely have to agree with this.

Softimage is currently the biggest innovater alongside Pixologic in 3D.

I hope they'll be succesfull with FR to continiue doing so.

Tim Miller
03-13-2006, 01:06 AM
For what it's worth I'll try and answer a few of the more obvious questions...at least from my perspective.

1. Why is it so expensive? Short answer is: I don't really understand myself. I know that Softimage isn't planning on nor WANTING a lot of users for FR at this point-they couldn't support the software properly if a ton of folks had it RIGHT NOW. I'm not privy to thier marketing plans but if it goes like everything ELSE in our biz....the price will eventually come down. We didn't find out the price until just recently ourselves and it WAS shocking, I think my reply was, "Wow...well I hope it gives me a %#$@! while I use it for that price!"

I have to say that it gives me a funny feeling in my gut....blur has always been about "software for the masses", giving away our inhouse plugins and scripts. This is quite the other end of the spectrum. But.....after having listened with a semi-open mind to SOME of the rationale's....I'm not quite as upset. I think if they DIDN'T charge this kind of coin the software wouldn't be possible...so if my choice was NOT have it or HAVE it cost a huge amount of money I'd take the hefty pricetag. Although I don't think we could afford it if we didn't help develop it. :blush:

My advice to Softimage was to be as transparent as possible and give everybody a big long explanation for the pricing. I think that everyone will GAG at the price (which this forum has proved adequately!) and it's better to be as open as possible and explain the thinking behind it. It's much better than letting folks come up with thier own reasons which might be....less forgiving. :shrug:

2. The samples didn't look sensational...especially compared to Kong and Gollum. Yes, that's absolutely true and we here at blur are very aware of it. The truth is though that the demo was put together by one guy (speaking of rigging and animating here) over a VERY short period of time with software that was evolving during the process. Not a scenario under which ANYONE could make a demo that surpassed the stellar work of WETA.

I thought that perhaps they should have made a greater effort to point that out because the software IS capable of much better, it's deep, powerful and versatile and with a decent amount of time I DO think we could produce work that rivals anything done anywhere. This test--which WAS amazingly great considering the time Jeff had--should be considered as just a beginning.

3. Can it do other less realistic or non-humanoid faces? My understanding is that it will be flexible enough to handle almost ANYTHING that we want to use it on. I have a TON of non-humanoid characters in the "Rockfish" film we're developing and we'll need it work on some VERY strange face topology. ;)

4. It will put animators out of a job. Not at blur it won't and I doubt it will elsewhere. In our case we'll most likely end up using the SAME amount of time as before....but the facial animation will end up looking a shitload better. We'll be STARTING at a place that before would have taken us a Looooong time to get to.

Just like everything else it will just allow us to do BETTER work, not necessarily FASTER work....do faster machines make our overall rendering time go down? Noooooo...we just add more shit in the scene and do fancier rendering tricks....add more cloth and more hair and more FX, etc. etc.

5. It takes the place of inhouse R&D teams doing facial animation tools, or will it? My god let's hope so...at least a little. And by saying that I don't mean fire those smart men and women....I mean let them solve OTHER problems. I've always found it frustrating that the wheel has to be invented separately at every studio...I was hoping those days were past as more folks used off-the-shelf software for bigger chunks of thier pipelines. Wouldn't it be great if you could take those R&D teams at the big studios and let them solve OTHER problems? Or work with XSI to make FR better? Instead of reinventing the same tool over and over again? Gad! I know WE didn't have the resources to do something like this on our own which is why we talked to XSI in the first place. At the VERY LEAST the industy should be glad that it's available....even at THIS price. After all--WETA, ILM, SONY, Dreamwork, etc aren't going to let anyone use THIER tools. At least this way if there was a huge job to justify the cost any studio COULD get it.

Anyway....if I wasn't on the "inside" for this whole thing I'd probably be crapping my pants at the price too....and leveling the same comments about the work done on the software thus far. But knowing what I DO know I'll end with a few thoughts.

a. The market will ultimately decide the price in this as in all things in our capitalist society. If it's a misstep then I'm sure Softimage will adjust.

b. The special projects team at Softimage are INCREDIBLY smart guys...it's amazing what they've done so far and it will only get better. I know they are VERY driven to keep making this better and better.

c. IMHO we're just NOW at the point where we can give the software a thorough test drive and push the envelope. The power is there under the hood and I expect to see great things in the future coming from blur and the other studios who take the plunge and use it.

d. Anyone can do great work--with or without Face Robot, it's not---nor will it ever be--about the tools. It's about the artists that use them.

e. I wasn't really drunk at the launch--just a mild buzz to loosen me up a bit. :thumbsup:

Cheers, :beer:

Tim Miller
Creative Director
blur

mister3d
03-13-2006, 01:44 AM
For what it's worth I'll try and answer a few of the more obvious questions...at least from my perspective.

1. Why is it so expensive? Short answer is: I don't really understand myself. I know that Softimage isn't planning on nor WANTING a lot of users for FR at this point-they couldn't support the software properly if a ton of folks had it RIGHT NOW. I'm not privy to thier marketing plans but if it goes like everything ELSE in our biz....the price will eventually come down. We didn't find out the price until just recently ourselves and it WAS shocking, I think my reply was, "Wow...well I hope it gives me a %#$@! while I use it for that price!"

I have to say that it gives me a funny feeling in my gut....blur has always been about "software for the masses", giving away our inhouse plugins and scripts. This is quite the other end of the spectrum. But.....after having listened with a semi-open mind to SOME of the rationale's....I'm not quite as upset. I think if they DIDN'T charge this kind of coin the software wouldn't be possible...so if my choice was NOT have it or HAVE it cost a huge amount of money I'd take the hefty pricetag. Although I don't think we could afford it if we didn't help develop it. :blush:

My advice to Softimage was to be as transparent as possible and give everybody a big long explanation for the pricing. I think that everyone will GAG at the price (which this forum has proved adequately!) and it's better to be as open as possible and explain the thinking behind it. It's much better than letting folks come up with thier own reasons which might be....less forgiving. :shrug:

2. The samples didn't look sensational...especially compared to Kong and Gollum. Yes, that's absolutely true and we here at blur are very aware of it. The truth is though that the demo was put together by one guy (speaking of rigging and animating here) over a VERY short period of time with software that was evolving during the process. Not a scenario under which ANYONE could make a demo that surpassed the stellar work of WETA.

I thought that perhaps they should have made a greater effort to point that out because the software IS capable of much better, it's deep, powerful and versatile and with a decent amount of time I DO think we could produce work that rivals anything done anywhere. This test--which WAS amazingly great considering the time Jeff had--should be considered as just a beginning.

3. Can it do other less realistic or non-humanoid faces? My understanding is that it will be flexible enough to handle almost ANYTHING that we want to use it on. I have a TON of non-humanoid characters in the "Rockfish" film we're developing and we'll need it work on some VERY strange face topology. ;)

4. It will put animators out of a job. Not at blur it won't and I doubt it will elsewhere. In our case we'll most likely end up using the SAME amount of time as before....but the facial animation will end up looking a shitload better. We'll be STARTING at a place that before would have taken us a Looooong time to get to.

Just like everything else it will just allow us to do BETTER work, not necessarily FASTER work....do faster machines make our overall rendering time go down? Noooooo...we just add more shit in the scene and do fancier rendering tricks....add more cloth and more hair and more FX, etc. etc.

5. It takes the place of inhouse R&D teams doing facial animation tools, or will it? My god let's hope so...at least a little. And by saying that I don't mean fire those smart men and women....I mean let them solve OTHER problems. I've always found it frustrating that the wheel has to be invented separately at every studio...I was hoping those days were past as more folks used off-the-shelf software for bigger chunks of thier pipelines. Wouldn't it be great if you could take those R&D teams at the big studios and let them solve OTHER problems? Or work with XSI to make FR better? Instead of reinventing the same tool over and over again? Gad! I know WE didn't have the resources to do something like this on our own which is why we talked to XSI in the first place. At the VERY LEAST the industy should be glad that it's available....even at THIS price. After all--WETA, ILM, SONY, Dreamwork, etc aren't going to let anyone use THIER tools. At least this way if there was a huge job to justify the cost any studio COULD get it.

Anyway....if I wasn't on the "inside" for this whole thing I'd probably be crapping my pants at the price too....and leveling the same comments about the work done on the software thus far. But knowing what I DO know I'll end with a few thoughts.

a. The market will ultimately decide the price in this as in all things in our capitalist society. If it's a misstep then I'm sure Softimage will adjust.

b. The special projects team at Softimage are INCREDIBLY smart guys...it's amazing what they've done so far and it will only get better. I know they are VERY driven to keep making this better and better.

c. IMHO we're just NOW at the point where we can give the software a thorough test drive and push the envelope. The power is there under the hood and I expect to see great things in the future coming from blur and the other studios who take the plunge and use it.

d. Anyone can do great work--with or without Face Robot, it's not---nor will it ever be--about the tools. It's about the artists that use them.

e. I wasn't really drunk at the launch--just a mild buzz to loosen me up a bit. :thumbsup:

Cheers, :beer:

Tim Miller
Creative Director
blur
Nice said!

jeremybirn
03-13-2006, 02:09 AM
Well said, Tim!

This whole thing reminds me of when Softimage was the first company to come out with Inverse Kinematic skeletons for 3D character animation. People using other software made it sound like an art vs. technology thing - an AE at Alias Research told me "If you really know how to animate, you don't need all that Inverse Kinematics and stuff." Eventually the smoke cleared, everyone adopted IK, and what took a six figure investment to get when Softimage first offered it, they now sell for $495.

-jeremy

6foot5
03-13-2006, 04:08 AM
I think im going to stick with Poser.



:D

mr-doOo
03-13-2006, 09:04 AM
only one thing to say

Eve Solal techdemo, Attitude Studios Paris...2 years ago
just check it out
and it aint no gollum, no kong and no million dollar rnd
just a studio in paris....and just a test
and it looks a dozen times better than this 100k face robot...that from what i see truly stands up for its name...it does robots
maybe i am overeacting...as i can truly see the potential for it...but 100k, pardon me
just look up for those eve videos..and u tell me..they are not at least on par with this facerobot, and they were done with 2k software, not a hundred


I was on this one, and the result is not so good, it was more than just a test and involved many peoles during many month. I suspect that she was not so cheaper for a creepy result.

just my 2 euros
LF

Chris-TC
03-13-2006, 09:08 AM
2. The samples didn't look sensational...especially compared to Kong and Gollum. Yes, that's absolutely true and we here at blur are very aware of it. The truth is though that the demo was put together by one guy (speaking of rigging and animating here) over a VERY short period of time with software that was evolving during the process. Not a scenario under which ANYONE could make a demo that surpassed the stellar work of WETA.


Thanks for pointing that out.


This test--which WAS amazingly great considering the time Jeff had--should be considered as just a beginning.


Everybody who came up with the ridiculous Gollum and King Kong comparisons: please read the above sentence (particularly the bold part) and realize what it says.

raffael3d
03-13-2006, 05:41 PM
pictures and summary of the event:


http://www.xsibase.com/articles.php?detail=104

PiXeL_MoNKeY
03-13-2006, 08:38 PM
FR is not an attempt at winnign back the May auser base. Nothign short of earth shattering will achieve that because the 3D market is saturated. FR is aiming for new markets a la Massive or Endorphin.
Didn't Softimage already try going into this market and end up having to roll Behavior into XSI Advanced? Also, I am the only one who sees this possibly going the same route as Behavior?

Behavior Timeline:
Softimage announces Softimage|Behaviour
November 11 2002
Availability and Pricing
The SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR system is available for purchase at $14,995 USMSRP

Softimage Launches New Version of SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR
December 15 2003
Availability and Pricing
The SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR v.1.5 system is expected to be available December 11th 2003 and is available for purchase at $14,995 USMSRP. One license of SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR batch is included as part of the standard SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR package, additional licenses can be purchased separately for $1,995 USMSRP.

Avid Announces SOFTIMAGE|XSI 4.2
Crowd-simulation software now included with SOFTIMAGE|XSI Advanced; SOFTIMAGE|XSI Essentials now includes compositing and paint features
November 30, 2004
* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.4.2 Advanced + SOFTIMAGE|BEHAVIOR v.2.0 is now available for $6,995 USMSRP

So maybe Softimage users will have it builtin by March of 2008, but I guess only time will tell its true fate.

blur has always been about "software for the masses", giving away our inhouse plugins and scripts. A little off topic here, but where have those plugins and scripts gone too?

-Eric

Chris-TC
03-13-2006, 09:40 PM
The newest entry on XSIBlog might be of interest to some as it talks about the price of Face|Robot.

http://www.xsi-blog.com/?p=92

shingo
03-13-2006, 10:29 PM
Yes, Behavior was intended to be such a tool. There were a number of reasons for Bahavior not taking off as it should have. It wasn't the easiest app out there at the time and was tied in directly with XSI - but it certinaly wasn;t becvasue of lack of power on Behavior's part.

Incidently, you may recal that when May first shipped, Artisan was also an expensive option at the time. Companies make mistakes or markets forces force them to make changes. It's to be expected.

Massive was US$40k when it was first released, now it's US$15k.

Didn't Softimage already try going into this market and end up having to roll Behavior into XSI Advanced? Also, I am the only one who sees this possibly going the same route as Behavior?

Behavior Timeline:

So maybe Softimage users will have it builtin by March of 2008, but I guess only time will tell its true fate.

A little off topic here, but where have those plugins and scripts gone too?

-Eric

Laa-Yosh
03-13-2006, 10:31 PM
Everybody who came up with the ridiculous Gollum and King Kong comparisons: please read the above sentence (particularly the bold part) and realize what it says.

I'm sorry but if it's the most expensive software for facial animation, then it's obviously going to be compared to the most impressive results in the field. If it compares well, then it's clearly worth the extra money, but if it does not, well, you may be better off hiring a few talented guys to do the job.

For a comparision, Bay Raitt spent about 2 years on developing the corrective blendshape system and the workflow, and then about another 6-10 months on building shapes for the final Gollum (after Peter Jackson decided to redesign him) with the additional team members: Brad DeCausin, John Feather and Sven Jensen. All in all I'd assume that it's not more than 5-10 times the cost of Face Robot.
If you want to build a similar system now, most of the ideas are quite well known and you can implement it quite quickly, especially if you don't write your own tools but use Daniel's scripts. A studio might have some trouble to find properly talented people (I mean VERY talented) but if we want to count the beans, I think that $100K would get you a good TD to set up the tools, and also hire a good modeler for the better part of a year. That's enough to do some pretty high quality stuff for a single character, or even for a cast of up to a dozen characters for a CG feature.

What FaceRobot seems to do better is efficiency. No matter how good your tools are, how well your modeler can sculpt shapes, you'll still need very good animators and a lot of time to get those faces moving. But with FR, you can probably just go and feed your faces endless amounts of mocap data very very quickly.

So I think that first of all, the comparisions to Weta's work are to be expected. I also agree that it's a bit unfair to look at the quality aspect only, as FaceRobot's main focus seems to be efficiency and automation. But with such a high price, they're really asking for it...

RayenD
03-13-2006, 10:54 PM
I think were all going round in circles here.



You talking about blendshapes? or skin in engine? Generally most game facial rigs use bones. At present with the demos of F|R theres nothing out there in an engine to drive that kind of mesh data - maybe in 5/10 years.

Little bit off topic, but pre-skeletal deformation engines like Quake1 (don't remeber what Q2 used) used some sort of "blendshapes" to animate pretty much every character model. I still remeber exporting countless .obj files of of 300-400 ply characters..
So, in theory you can get Face Robot data into the game engine rather easily. If it makes sense right now -considering price of Face Robot and max resolution of meshes of even "next gen" (funny how everyone falls for this silly marketing term which means nothing) game engines - this is different story.

Laa-Yosh
03-13-2006, 11:09 PM
Most game programmers don't even like to use blendshapes at all, because of the memory requirements, so don't expect fully point cached animations to take over in the near future. RAM is always a limit, especially on nextgen consoles, so bones will be the primary tools.

richcz3
03-14-2006, 12:55 AM
It's clearly a toy for big studios with the deepest pockets.
I am betting the high Price tag is leveraged for continued developmnnt and R&D to stave off market solutions (competition) that is inevitable. In this day of convergence with multiple pipelines who knows how it will fare for the long run.

Tim Miller
03-14-2006, 05:58 AM
A little off topic here, but where have those plugins and scripts gone too? -Eric

Well....when our main plugin guy Dave Humphries left for ILM several years ago the blur beta site went stale....we didn't have an inhouse guy for a while. Now we have 3 really great guys and its on the list of things to do. We just had such a HUGE backlog of shit to take care of and tools to create that they haven't been able to find the time to do it.

We still want to give tools away....we still believe in helping other artists out there do cool shit.....and as soon as we can spare the time to get the site back up on its feet we will. We have a ton of great new stuff we're using inhouse...some we can post, some we can't (like our replacement for Backburner....it's called "Assburner" and it needs a database and some other specialized stuff to run. It's wicked though!) :buttrock:

Sorry about that! Philosophically we're still in the zone but the needs of production (i.e. the PAYING stuff) come first. And with E3 just around the corner and us packed to the GILLS with cinematics I don't think it'll happen in the next few months. I'll go bug people again just the same.

Tim Miller
Creative Director
blur

toonman
03-14-2006, 02:17 PM
Thanks for the update Tim! It will be friggin' cool when that happens... rockin' work! :buttrock:

And coming back to the original topic... I had the chance to see a demo of FR a while ago, and I wasn't overly impressed by the results. However, the workflow it proposes it certainly takes things to uncharted territory (kinda like the Zbrush of facial animation, I think). The pricing tho'... :surprised... looks like we're going back to the 90's! Did I miss anything here?

MarkusM
03-14-2006, 04:56 PM
ILM's CARI is a different app entirely, so I doubt it would be a trivial excercise to move data back and forth without caching or some form of interchange format. There goes your interactivity.

I don't see why CG features would have to digress from this approach either way. As I said before, facial systems tend to be heavy and this would encumber the perfomace animation, which demands light rigs with good playback rates. Having said that, CG features tend to be less focused on realism anyway, which is what FR is designed for.

Do you mean animted CG features when you say CG features. I haven't seen a system used in feature animation where the facial and body rigs are completely seperate. I've seen "scalable" solutions where you can turn off the face evalution when you are animating the body (to get the interactivity. That makes sense to me. You need to be able to evaluate your face with your body motion. So I actually agree with Rick. The workflow for FR has potential limitations.

Markus

yolao
03-14-2006, 05:42 PM
Could one of you Blur guys maybe talk a little about Face Robot now? Is FR a tool that only makes sense when you're in a production where everythings mo-capped or does it make sense too if you're using standard keyframing methods and no mo-cap at all?


i second that question....please if someone know the answer..

raffael3d
03-14-2006, 06:39 PM
btw here is an interview with Jeff Wilson of Blur about Face Robot:


http://www.xsibase.com/articles.php?detail=83

raffael3d
03-14-2006, 06:48 PM
i second that question....please if someone know the answer..

you can do both. it's suited well for mocap, but can be also keyframed.

softimage always showed demos of both, mocap and keyframe work.

raffael3d
03-14-2006, 07:30 PM
video clips are online at Softimage.com

http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/video_gallery/Default.aspx




old lady, making of etc.

yolao
03-14-2006, 07:57 PM
video clips are online at Softimage.com

http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/video_gallery/Default.aspx




old lady, making of etc.

thanks a lot Raffael for the info and the links...

and by the way..does anyone knows if there is goin to be a demo of faceRobot to download?

and what about a video of the Softimage|Face Robot Launch Party? i know that someone on this thread put some videos..but i will like to see more...here http://www.xsibase.com/articles.php?detail=104 i can see that they reveal a lot...a video of the event would be nice..at least a video with the highlights..

EternalArt
03-14-2006, 09:06 PM
Hey Raffael thanks a lot .. man

offshootcartoon
03-15-2006, 02:18 AM
Originally Posted by Tim Miller

2. The samples didn't look sensational...especially compared to Kong and Gollum. Yes, that's absolutely true and we here at blur are very aware of it. The truth is though that the demo was put together by one guy (speaking of rigging and animating here) over a VERY short period of time with software that was evolving during the process. Not a scenario under which ANYONE could make a demo that surpassed the stellar work of WETA.

If I was going to showcase a facial animation software and drop such a heavy price tag, I would make sure that what ever I showed would be very impressive. Why rush one guy to get out a so so demo. Doesn't make sense. Has me curious about the intentions behind this press release.

gunslingerblack
03-15-2006, 02:25 AM
just found the video footage of kitty....well she gave a good performance...for a zombie.

the main thing i noticed was the transition between the mocap to face robot. any time she wrinkled her brows and peeled her lips back, the emotion the actress was trying to convey read on the model as pain, every time, all of the subtlety was lost. i really dont see the use of this over blendshapes, especially after reading documentation on the bcs.

i mean if you want to create such heartfelt performances as say polar express, than by all means waste 94 g's on face robot

i'll stick to my blendshapes.

6foot5
03-15-2006, 02:42 AM
i think Kitty suffers from 'Uncanny Valley' due to her cg look rather than the animation, i can understand why some animators may be getting a little riled by this piece of software as it seems to take alot of work away from the animator - and in this regard you should be thankfull the product is priced prohibitively high for most studios. I guess it was pretty much the same reaction to motion capture in general when it became more accesible. The technology is there now, the genie is out of the bottle but i do see a greater delineation in productions between realistic and stylised, and motion capture will no more kill off the animator than photography killed off the painter.

baycityblues41
03-15-2006, 03:17 AM
Polar Express... are you serious? I mean really?

Polar Express was a big budget film, by a major studio, years in the making, paying major salaries which in the end looked quite poor. Not a single shot in Polar Express looked anywhere near as good as what was shown already by a small team using BETA Face Robot. Sony would have saved serious cash and had a better result had they used Face Robot. Seriously, what a lame comparison.

All of you who are complaining the examples were not good enough, whats your suggestion? What you're asking is for is for Soft to be a movie studio, not a software company. Great so they spend half a mill on a short so that the software then costs $200k to pay for the short- what a great idea!

gunslingerblack
03-15-2006, 03:25 AM
face robot is just as bad if not worse than the polar express judging from the test movies. it conveys the same lifelessness that was conveyed in the polar express....yes im serious...really.

i expect when you tout a new system as the "face of the future" that you better damn well be able to put up or shut up. and judging from the tests, it's definitely the latter

SimonPickard
03-15-2006, 04:48 AM
"face robot is just as bad if not worse than the polar express judging from the test movies. it conveys the same lifelessness that was conveyed in the polar express....yes im serious...really."



Look... You're not taking about face robot. You're talking about mocap. Face robot isn't mocap. Read up and try to understand what face robot is and get back to us ok?

Simon.

6foot5
03-15-2006, 05:01 AM
"face robot is just as bad if not worse than the polar express judging from the test movies. it conveys the same lifelessness that was conveyed in the polar express....yes im serious...really."



Look... You're not taking about face robot. You're talking about mocap. Face robot isn't mocap. Read up and try to understand what face robot is and get back to us ok?

Simon.

although Face Robot isnt exclusively mocap, as far as i understand that is one aspect of it- making mocap work easier and more accessible, this would mean a greater take up of this technique. As people have mentioned previously, I think it would be interesting to see how verstaile Face Robot is in regards to extreamly stylised or no human charachters - im not sure exactly how it works but i imagine its solvers are based on human facial musculature and bones or perhaps these are customisable??

raffael3d
03-15-2006, 05:04 AM
face robot is just as bad if not worse than the polar express judging from the test movies. it conveys the same lifelessness that was conveyed in the polar express....yes im serious...really.

i expect when you tout a new system as the "face of the future" that you better damn well be able to put up or shut up. and judging from the tests, it's definitely the latter

you are totally missing the point. How long did it take to setup all the characters for polar express? how many people? how much r&D?

I guess it took 80% of the time to setup the characters with little amount of time to animate, even with mocap and tune it.

the big breakthrough as I see it is that with Face Robot you can rig a face within a few minutes (!), not weeks or months as it was before.

So you can spend a lot of time working on the peformance. Maybe the performances are not yet as far as they might go in the future, so what? that's not the point, obviously if arists will have more time to use this tool there might come great stuff out of it.

bashing because the peformances because it doesnt' blow you away lets me ask how much time it would take you to setup a face, animate it etc to get only similar results, compared to how fast and easy you can do it with this software...

SimonPickard
03-15-2006, 05:23 AM
" although Face Robot isnt exclusively mocap, as far as i understand that is one aspect of it"

think of face robot as a really good hi fi.
it doesn't matter how good the sound quality is.. If you plug a 1980's tape player in there it's going to sound crap.

face robot is a tool. mo-cap or keyframed animation is the source that the tool works with.
Blaming the tool on the source is a waste of time.

Regards,
Simon.

6foot5
03-15-2006, 06:50 AM
" although Face Robot isnt exclusively mocap, as far as i understand that is one aspect of it"

think of face robot as a really good hi fi.
it doesn't matter how good the sound quality is.. If you plug a 1980's tape player in there it's going to sound crap.

face robot is a tool. mo-cap or keyframed animation is the source that the tool works with.
Blaming the tool on the source is a waste of time.

Regards,
Simon.

fair point, i think maybe people have focused too much the 'mocap' side of things, due to the attetnion grabbing videos ... i guess its hard to show 'money shots' of the efficiency this software would afford a studios pipeline.

SimonPickard
03-15-2006, 09:34 AM
"I think maybe people have focused too much the 'mocap' side of things, due to the attetnion grabbing videos ... i guess its hard to show 'money shots' of the efficiency this software would afford a studios pipeline."

I totally agree. People are just commenting on what they have seen, and quite rightly so. You have to go on what you're been given right?

Lucky, and I don't mean any disrespect to people here, but this product isn't aimed at us (yet). I'm sure the people thinking of shelling out close to 100k will have private demos showing the real power and potental.

This is a very new product and I must say that after seeing it during the Softimage 3Dlove demo I'm very excited about it.
Have an open mind about products like this, you'll be using them one day.

Regards,
Simon.

gunslingerblack
03-15-2006, 01:44 PM
you are totally missing the point. How long did it take to setup all the characters for polar express? how many people? how much r&D?

whether it's 5 days or 5 minutes, if the result is the same why drop 100 grand on the system?

Look... You're not taking about face robot. You're talking about mocap. Face robot isn't mocap. Read up and try to understand what face robot is and get back to us ok?

terribly sorry, let me rephrase myself, the implementations of the face robot thus far have yielded just as bad, if not worse results than that of polar express.

-chris-

show me something better and i'll be happy to change my tune

yolao
03-15-2006, 01:46 PM
so a DEMO for the general user may be out of question?!....perhaps they just give away demos for the big companies....

Laa-Yosh
03-15-2006, 01:58 PM
To be honest, I'd really like to see a FaceRobot animation that is not mocap, but fully keyframed. A lot of the dynamics in these movies might come from the mocap, so it'd be easier to see what the system itself does if there's only keyframe animation. The constant shaking of the whole head disturbs me a lot, too...

SimonPickard
03-15-2006, 02:04 PM
" whether it's 5 days or 5 minutes, if the result is the same why drop 100 grand on the system?"

Well thinking as a single animator, as you are, you wouldn't.
But thinking as the M.D. of a company thats got a big film to do you might well.
Ok.. lets take this slowly..

Say you're being paid $10 per hour to work on creating a facial rig
If you work 5 minutes and you're done thats cost the company $10.
If you work for 5 days (at say 8 hours per day) that's cost the company $400.

The way I got this number is.. (5 * 8) * 10 = 400.
Can you see why it might be of benifit?

Regards,
Simon

ThomasMahler
03-15-2006, 02:14 PM
To be honest, I'd really like to see a FaceRobot animation that is not mocap, but fully keyframed. A lot of the dynamics in these movies might come from the mocap, so it'd be easier to see what the system itself does if there's only keyframe animation. The constant shaking of the whole head disturbs me a lot, too...

That's why I asked. So, there's this soft tissue deformer thing going on - do I, as an animator, actually see that stuff while working, in real time? I'd love to see a demo of someone animating in FR, so that we'd actually see the difference, the advantage of keyframing in Face Robot over keyframing with blendShapes in Maya, Max, whatever.

Laa-Yosh
03-15-2006, 02:32 PM
What I've seen in the Kitty makingof video was relatively slow feedback, although the model was quite high-res. But even a combination blendshape system with a 4-5000 polygon basemesh would scream on a 3GHz machine...

raffael3d
03-15-2006, 02:55 PM
I have seen it live, it's fast, especially if subdis are turned off. they also showed a keyframed only demo, looked pretty cool, maybe that video will go up too, not sure.

NeptuneImaging
03-15-2006, 03:07 PM
I just saw some more of the video for FR, and as a modeller myself, I am very stunned that it can done this way, this quickly. It would have taken me ages to do this with just blendshapes and control splines.

gunslingerblack
03-15-2006, 04:42 PM
i understand what your trying to say simon, but the results of face robot are not impressive enough for me to say it's worth the money, when you can just pay people to rig and animate and get a better performance that, sure takes more time, but the performance is still better then why drop 90 thousand dollars on a new system and have to learn a new workflow and deal with beta issues and not be able to work on non humanoid faces etc.... then once you actually learn the system then you have to get a performance out of it, and right now softimage is not doing well to show how this system can convey performance. so where do you save the time?

MarkusM
03-15-2006, 05:07 PM
I think Tim [Miller] really said it best, and I won't quote him exactly. His team can do better quality facial animation with potentially a faster turn around thanks to a tool that helps the facial rig and facial animation process. This is always relative. And that's how you have to evaluate it. Tim clearly thinks the tool made a difference for their purpose.

A lot of time we are trying to basically get humanistic type performance on to non-humantistic type characters (animals, ...) and we need to somehow map human face behavior on to non-human structures. For this type of work FR seems to be well suited.
For the cases when that mapping is not what is needed, well, then it is trickier.
I am curious if it is going to be possible, or easy, to create new "templates" in FR that allows for the type of speedy base setups. maybe that's what the reasoning behind the dedicated FR R&D team is. I'll have to remember to ask Michael about that next time.

shingo
03-15-2006, 06:07 PM
Again, if you were seriosuy considering implemeting FR, you would be crazy not to put it through it's paces. No one buys a BMW for the first time without test driving it first, no matter how wealthy they are. Placing so much significance on the movies you have seen is futile. You woudn't make a purchasing descsiino abotu a 3D app based on few quicktime movies would you?

You are using the circular argument that the lack of high quality examples are evindece the syystem is not up to par, while at the same time admitting the system is new and is only now being used.

Your questinos have merit, but you are making a lot of assumptions.

i understand what your trying to say simon, but the results of face robot are not impressive enough for me to say it's worth the money, when you can just pay people to rig and animate and get a better performance that, sure takes more time, but the performance is still better then why drop 90 thousand dollars on a new system and have to learn a new workflow and deal with beta issues and not be able to work on non humanoid faces etc.... then once you actually learn the system then you have to get a performance out of it, and right now softimage is not doing well to show how this system can convey performance. so where do you save the time?

SimonPickard
03-15-2006, 09:40 PM
"i understand what your trying to say simon, but the results of face robot are not impressive enough for me to say it's worth the money, when you can just pay people to rig and animate and get a better performance that, sure takes more time, but the performance is still better then why drop 90 thousand dollars on a new system and have to learn a new workflow and deal with beta issues and not be able to work on non humanoid faces etc.... then once you actually learn the system then you have to get a performance out of it, and right now softimage is not doing well to show how this system can convey performance. so where do you save the time?"

Ok last post from me as you're really not getting this.

"when you can just pay people to rig and animate and get a better performance"

Ok.. I showed why it saves money, and trust me setting up a facial rig to that quality would take A LOT of time. There's a lot more going on there then morph targets. Blur have already said it saves money from a TD side of things. And from what I saw in the demo I know it would have taken me weeks if not months to get results that were up to the same level as a demo they did that took a 2 hours to create. If you're doing a film with a lot of faces this product is going to save money, and save it BIG.

And for the last time... Performance... The results from face robot are only ever going to be as good as the mocap or animator driving it. If you stick a really good keyframe animator in front of it you're going to get a really good result, but it'll take way less time to set it up and use. True we haven't seen this side of it yet.. But does that mean it can't be done?

What saddens me is that you can't see the potental for this product. If you get beyond the current demo videos and start to think how great it would be to have a bit of software that creates high quality facial rigs for you in a few hours.. and how YOU could use them I think you'd be on a better track.

You see the demos and think it's rubbish. I see the demos and think... Damn with that system I could create something really great. I want to play! Give it to me!!

Each to their own I guess..

Over and out.

Simon.

SheepFactory
03-15-2006, 09:49 PM
I second Simon ,

I dont see why everyone feels so threatened by Face Robot , I am glad a company is out there trying to make the artists life easier.

I can post a hundred crappy animations done with mocap and keyframe alike using blendshape method , does that mean its not a valid workflow? no. I am sure if you create a artist UI for this and sit a talented animator infront of it he\she will create amazing results by keyframing it.

I , as a keyframe animator who hates mocap with a passion , cant wait to see this technology grow and become more accessible.

anakinbrego
03-15-2006, 11:23 PM
In two hours, and only 40 markers, with that result?! :eek:

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 01:38 AM
sorry but im all about the blendshape combination system now, it offers me much more control, i dont have to work with gigapoly meshes, it's fully integrated into maya workflow and i get to use the system on ANY FACE, not just humanoid faces.

And for the last time... Performance... The results from face robot are only ever going to be as good as the mocap or animator driving it. If you stick a really good keyframe animator in front of it you're going to get a really good result, but it'll take way less time to set it up and use. True we haven't seen this side of it yet.. But does that mean it can't be done?

i believe someone else said it in this thread but if not here goes

if your going to tout a new system as the "face of the future" why in gods name would you show such crap on the demonstrations. so far all implementations of face robot have been garbage, if there is potential in this working only on gigapoly meshes of a humanoid nature they sure as hell arent selling me on any of it.

6foot5
03-16-2006, 02:20 AM
making blend shapes for a high polygon head for a long, dialogue heavy shot is an arduous task. making sure the mesh deforms correctly between keys often results in creating even more blend shapes/morph targets. With FR, the animator still creates the expressions manually but dosnt have to worry about such things as the lips losing volume, the eyebrows not sliding over the skull etc etc...atleast thats my understanding.

*edit ..those videos arnt as bad as you are making out.

If you exclude the price for a moment i dont see how you can think Face Robot is not a positive thing for animators.

AmbiDextrose
03-16-2006, 02:21 AM
if your going to tout a new system as the "face of the future" why in gods name would you show such crap on the demonstrations. so far all implementations of face robot have been garbage, if there is potential in this working only on gigapoly meshes of a humanoid nature they sure as hell arent selling me on any of it.

I, for one, would like to see you create "crap" comparable to F|R from scratch. When you've done that, please give an account on how long the development cycle was and how you think the process could have been more efficient.

And why would they bother to sell to you if you can't even open your mind to the possibility the new software offers? If I were the vendor, I'd actually REFUSE to sell you my software.

If you're so against F|R, stop waisting your time posting here and do something about it- make a better system and sell it for much, much less.

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 02:33 AM
http://dpk.stargrav.com/

it's already been posted in this thread

ambidextrose, as soon as i learn the blendshape combination system and implement it on one of my models i will be happy to share.

ps the surfer animation link in my sig will take you to facial animations i produced on a model i rigged after reading "stop staring" modelled rigged and animated by me for an animation class...if you can't wait for my progress with the bcs

withanar
03-16-2006, 02:35 AM
if you're going to tout a new system as the "face of the future" why in gods name would you show such crap on the demonstrations. so far all implementations of face robot have been garbage, if there is potential in this working only on gigapoly meshes of a humanoid nature they sure as hell arent selling me on any of it.
I'm starting to feel a little bad for Jeff and the folks who spent the 2 weeks putting the Kitty demo materials together. But then again, when you post your work out there for everyone to see and critique, you risk the wrath of the chatroom and mailing list critics. Fortunately, Jeff isn't the only one brave enough to post his work for all to see.

Thus, a prime example of why Face Robot is a valuable tool. Let's say I'm an animation supervisor who can hire people, like Jeff Wilson at Blur, or a potential client who knows nothing about process but has to choose between 2 studios bidding for a job. Each of these studios had 2 weeks to get me their bid, not an uncommon time period these days. Here's what the 2 bids look like:

A) http://pirateradio.x10hosting.com/media/project04_Dialogue.avi
B) http://softimage.com/downloadsrv/process.asp?file=/Videos/facerobot/kitty_sbs_960x540.wmv

Not knowing about process, which animation is getting you hired? Which animation is landing you the client? A or B?

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 02:36 AM
haha thank you for posting a link to my student work much appreciated

dbates
03-16-2006, 02:39 AM
Well, considering that Windows Media Player only plays the audio from the first link (no picture), I'd have to go with the second one. . . ;)

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 02:44 AM
im actually honored that your now comparing the first face i ever rigged to face robot, i hope someone can view the video haha

Phearielord
03-16-2006, 02:45 AM
I opened it fine with Quicktime

AmbiDextrose
03-16-2006, 02:48 AM
im actually honored that your now comparing the first face i ever rigged to face robot, i hope someone can view the video haha

And how long did it take you to do that little sequence?

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 02:51 AM
probably around a day to setup the face, and then another day for animation including critiques and refinements.

AmbiDextrose
03-16-2006, 02:52 AM
probably around a day to setup the face, and then another day for animation including critiques and refinements.

You just proved the purpose of F|R.

6foot5
03-16-2006, 02:54 AM
thid isnt a debate about gunslingerblack versus face robot, that was a bit unfair.

however you are very much mistaken if you think that this tool http://dpk.stargrav.com/bcs/docs/index.html

-as good as it may be -is comparable to face robot.

It dosnt have any skin solvers, its not based on anatomically accurate physics for starters.


ok im going to gracefully bow out of this one...im in way over my head and run the danger of not knowing what im on about.
:scream:

AmbiDextrose
03-16-2006, 02:59 AM
thid isnt a debate about gunslingerblack versus face robot, that was a bit unfair.

I think it was a fair comparison. It's not about the quality of work- you still need talent to pull of convincing facial animation. It's about efficiently getting to the point that you can finetune the performance- taking care of the mundane stuff so you can focus on the really fun stuff. That's what F|R buys you.

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 03:00 AM
so let me just make sure im reading you right, me taking my time to come up with a decent animation that reads well and brings life to a character proves the purpose of a system where in 2 hours you can setup a character that looks like a reanimated corpse?


It dosnt have any skin solvers, its not based on anatomically accurate physics for starters.

do we need to have those things to get realistic controllable performances out of characters?

and thanks for the sympathy but i find it humorous that my work has been brought forward for the firing squad, more critiques for me for free buah

also it must be mentioned that the examples he has on his website are noted as being quick roughs of the final results you have to read the documentation on the program to understand why it's worth getting excited over.

dbates
03-16-2006, 03:00 AM
The hand-keyed one works when I save it to the hard drive. . . :)

I would probably go with "B" for realism.

6foot5
03-16-2006, 03:16 AM
and thanks for the sympathy but i find it humorous that my work has been brought forward for the firing squad, more critiques for me for free buah



i wasnt necessarily feeling sorry for you , i just pointed out it was an unfair comparison and not relevant to the debate in hand.


anyway im going to bed

:wavey:

shingo
03-16-2006, 03:33 AM
Gunslinger,

With all due respects, you are making a complete arse of yourself. You know nothing about this tool and are making your judgement here and now based on a quick a dirty test done by Blur. Had you used that same rational to the 3D tool you are using, you would never have taken up 3D animation at all.

You seem determined to bury this product in your mind before it even starts shipping. What are you so paranoid about? If FR is such a bad deal, it will die and you can continue on your merry way telling the world how blend shapes slayed FR. But what if this thing relaly turns out to be the real thing? What then?

Teh trouble with blend shape animation as I see it is that it requires an enromous number of shapes to be abel to obtain convincing animation (together with in between transition shapes). Managing all of these targets becomes a nightmare if you are setting up a serious rig. In fact, I believe with Gollum type set-ups, there were many shapes not even accessible to the animators and that the rig itself was a nightmare to work with.


so let me just make sure im reading you right, me taking my time to come up with a decent animation that reads well and brings life to a character proves the purpose of a system where in 2 hours you can setup a character that looks like a reanimated corpse?

kevinw
03-16-2006, 03:46 AM
wait I'm confused.. I came into this thread to learn about Face Robot and instead I get people comparing someones student work to a $95,000 program???
What the hell is going on around here?

To get this back on the subject at hand...

I think some of the initial stuff I saw from Blur looked pretty amazing. The facial test of that tough S.O.B. character was beautuful.. But the mocap translation with the girl was creepy. Not a big fan of that. But let's not get sidetracked with the mocap/keyframe debate..

I think every angle of this debate has been brought up so I don't have any profound revelations to enlighten anyone with but as an employed professional in this industry, anytime someone comes out with a tool that does the work of two or three of my fellow co-workers at half the price/time.... I can't help but get a little nervous.. And since I don't have 100k burning a whole in my pocket and my last name isn't Trump... I guess I won't be getting my hands on this anytime soon..

So I guess I'll go back to my corner and count my change now..

BTW.. I think what you've all failed to mention is that even with the white dots all over her face... That girl in the video example (the real girl) is super hot!!!:love:

VM
03-16-2006, 03:50 AM
Well said, Tim!

This whole thing reminds me of when Softimage was the first company to come out with Inverse Kinematic skeletons for 3D character animation. People using other software made it sound like an art vs. technology thing - an AE at Alias Research told me "If you really know how to animate, you don't need all that Inverse Kinematics and stuff." Eventually the smoke cleared, everyone adopted IK, and what took a six figure investment to get when Softimage first offered it, they now sell for $495.

-jeremy

my 2 cents (sorry to digress from face robot):

IK is a great technology that did and continues to do a lot of damage to 3D animation. I mean, major damage, supermajor. :banghead: it's like an entire different area of animation, that could be called: IK animation! :surprised :surprised :surprised

FloydBishop
03-16-2006, 03:53 AM
A) http://pirateradio.x10hosting.com/media/project04_Dialogue.avi
B) http://softimage.com/downloadsrv/process.asp?file=/Videos/facerobot/kitty_sbs_960x540.wmv

Not knowing about process, which animation is getting you hired?

That's easy! Example A. (That's one of the reasons I hired him.)

Personal attacks aside, I think the gunslinger's point is that there are obvious issues with the software at this point.

Now, new software is usually given some time by most people to grow before it gets bashed on too hard, but when you come out and your price tag is as high as this, you had better look pretty friggin amazing right out of the gate. Face Robot doesn't do that yet. That is not a dig on any artists or studios that worked on the demos, as there are always hitches you encounter when working with untested software. I do think that based on the examples I've seen so far, there should be some revisions to workflow, shape generation or something in order to plus the quality a few levels.

At Bishop Animation, we have a very strong anti-mocap policy. That's just the way it is for us. I think it looks like crap, so we don't use it. End of story. I think some of gunslinger's comments reflect that credo.

If another studio wants to drop the money for Face Robot, go ahead. We're not.

AmbiDextrose
03-16-2006, 03:59 AM
At Bishop Animation, we have a very strong anti-mocap policy. That's just the way it is for us. I think it looks like crap, so we don't use it. End of story. I think some of gunslinger's comments reflect that credo.

If another studio wants to drop the money for Face Robot, go ahead. We're not.

So, if all it really comes down to is POV, why all the hostility towards FR which, from the looks of it, also allows keyframed animation?

SimonPickard
03-16-2006, 04:16 AM
"So, if all it really comes down to is POV, why all the hostility towards FR which, from the looks of it, also allows keyframed animation?"

Because people are commenting on something they don't understand. It's that simple.

Regards,
Simon

KingMob
03-16-2006, 05:41 AM
...so far all implementations of face robot have been garbage, if there is potential in this working only on gigapoly meshes of a humanoid nature they sure as hell arent selling me on any of it.

You have been using this "gigapoly mesh" phrase a lot in reference to FR's requirements. I don't know where you are getting your information, but as far as I know, Face Robot has never seen a mesh that dense. I sit right behind the modeler who did Kitty Hunting and I can tell you that it is a 27k poly mesh. And from what I have heard, they realized that was overly dense for what they needed.

I modeled Rock Falcon for Siggraph and that was a 12k mesh. Besides that, we have used it on several projects here at Blur and we never model any head that high-res. There is no "gigapoly mesh" limitation in Face Robot.

cyartist
03-16-2006, 05:53 AM
If it is so easy to use why are there very few samples to show. Hmmmmm?

baycityblues41
03-16-2006, 05:56 AM
I might be just as big of an arse for this reply but I really dont like it when people who cant produce better work or offer constructive comments call someone elses work "crap."

At any rate, I understand why bishop animation has a strict no mocap policy, to be polite, your work doesnt require it.

http://www.bishopanimation.com/gallery.htm (watch the movies- trust me!) Is that monkey hair made out of one of those koosh ball things? What does the dino have stuck up his butt? What exactly is the banana doing?

http://www.bishopanimation.com/movies/opposites_web.mov
this is the only facial animation i saw on your website. You are correct, you definitely do NOT need face robot, looks like you're golden with Flash v1.0.

When you get a job that demands something other than Southpark for lip sync you might want to pick up the phone and give Softimage a call until then try to be a bit more constructive.

With that said, thanks Blur and Softimage for posting those updated videos. The old lady especially is fantastic. I look forward to seeing what serious professionals can do with this new exciting tool.

SimonPickard
03-16-2006, 06:16 AM
"If it is so easy to use why are there very few samples to show. Hmmmmm?"

Erm.. Well only one Studio has been using it.. And Softimage have a few other things to do, like create it. It's only been out a few days... Give it a chance!

Si.

tiamatdraconis
03-16-2006, 07:10 AM
x-men legends 2 used a beta copy of it. and something else... i cna't remember, we go through so many projects.

er.. this is Epshot, forgot to log out of my g/f's account.... evne though she said to about 4 minutes ago:D

Bonedaddy
03-16-2006, 07:57 AM
What's with all the ad-hominem attacks and bizarro hostility? Come on, people, it's just version 1.0 software. Chill out. Take a nap. Drink some tea. Smoke illicit substances. There are much better things to get bent out of shape about.

Face Robot is nifty. I look forward to seeing where it goes, and hope to play with it myself one day.

Random aside: anyone notice that Gnomon has a Face Robot class in the pipe? Crazy!


P.S. EpShot, right on, dude! My last artsy girlfriend hated cgtalk with a violent passion. You lucky bastard.

slime
03-16-2006, 08:26 AM
I think it looks extremely promising.
So far, for achieving good realistic facial animation companies had to spend millions of dollars, so I think the price could still be competitive in some cases.
Of course, I'm sure the price will go down in time and will be affordable for smaller houses.

This video is very impressive and shows a lot of potential.
http://www.softimage.com/products/face_robot/video_gallery/Default.aspx
edit: [ kitty hunting, side by side ]

baycityblues41: great post :D

yinako
03-16-2006, 08:47 AM
Looks like some people fear their job will be replaced by FR, so its time to hmm...FACE THE FUTURE !?!:rolleyes: *giggles*

oh new technology makes people nervous as always, its all about the price, imagine if it was included with XSI free of charge, people would jump up and down, priase softimage and the AWSOME animation produced by blur. But if its inaccessable to some people, they will defend the old ways...

some people have a thing against mocap?:rolleyes:

Even against IK?:rolleyes:

gunslingerblack
03-16-2006, 01:23 PM
thanks for clearing that up ian, it's my fault for buying into whatever misinformation i have read on that particular issue, and now that the mob has resorted to attacking the entire studio i'll leave it up to my boss as to whether there will be any more replies from any of us

Laa-Yosh
03-16-2006, 03:11 PM
Managing all of these targets becomes a nightmare if you are setting up a serious rig. In fact, I believe with Gollum type set-ups, there were many shapes not even accessible to the animators and that the rig itself was a nightmare to work with.

1. There's scripting to help with the management.
2. As I remember, Jason Schlefer hasn't exactly called Gollum's rig a nightmare. In fact, ease of use and fast viewport response for animators were some of its main features.

Laa-Yosh
03-16-2006, 03:12 PM
With FR, the animator still creates the expressions manually but dosnt have to worry about such things as the lips losing volume, the eyebrows not sliding over the skull etc etc...atleast thats my understanding.


Too bad that neither the Rock Falcon nor the old lady character has managed to maintain volume in the lips, at least in the demo movies... all kinds of funky things are happening there, I guess it's because only 5 controls are used to define the curve of the lip and that's not always sufficient. Maybe FR has support for more...?

kevinw
03-16-2006, 03:27 PM
I might be just as big of an arse for this reply but I really dont like it when people who cant produce better work or offer constructive comments call someone elses work "crap."


why make a statement like that and then go on to bash the studios' work? Do you dislike yourself too?

And just to make it clear.. "Opposites Jamboree" was done in Maya not flash...

So yeah.. you guys can jump all over Floyd and Gunslinger for having opinions... that's pretty typical of this forum... But don't lower yourself to bashing the work of an entire studio.. Especially when you know absolutely nothing about us.

When our NDA's expire and we can show off more recent work I'm sure we will.

shingo
03-16-2006, 03:40 PM
Come on gunslingerblack,

Don't get all sensitive on us now. Those who critisize the most are opening themselves up to scruitinity. It's innevitable. When you hear peopel tlakiong as though they are rock stars in the field of pure animation, it get's up peopel's noses and the first reaction is to demand they put their money where their mouth is.

Liek they say in sport, you're onyl as good as your last game. You can either prove to us how good you guys are or start showing some humility.

thanks for clearing that up ian, it's my fault for buying into whatever misinformation i have read on that particular issue, and now that the mob has resorted to attacking the entire studio i'll leave it up to my boss as to whether there will be any more replies from any of us

shingo
03-16-2006, 03:46 PM
With all due respects kevinw

Experience on these forums shows that the most vocal critics tend to be the one's with the most to prove. Similarly, when people make blanket statements about mo-cap being crap, they give reason for others to suspect that person has no idea what they are talking about.

And most of all, anyone who hangs their entire case on a few quicktime movies done with a beta application is exposing themselves as being both naive and inexperienced.



So yeah.. you guys can jump all over Floyd and Gunslinger for having opinions... that's pretty typical of this forum... But don't lower yourself to bashing the work of an entire studio.. Especially when you know absolutely nothing about us.

When our NDA's expire and we can show off more recent work I'm sure we will.

shingo
03-16-2006, 04:01 PM
Hmmm,

This is interesting

So you guys object to being judged on examples of your work that is avalable to the public, yet you are all harping on about softimaeg not showing more and better examples of FR. Could it be that FR is being used as we speak for projects that are also bound by NDA?


When our NDA's expire and we can show off more recent work I'm sure we will.

eek
03-16-2006, 06:11 PM
Too bad that neither the Rock Falcon nor the old lady character has managed to maintain volume in the lips, at least in the demo movies... all kinds of funky things are happening there, I guess it's because only 5 controls are used to define the curve of the lip and that's not always sufficient. Maybe FR has support for more...?

This is something ive been looking into for a long time. Corner controll, sticky lips, pucker arent to hard - its roll which maintains volume which is hard. It took me three months just for my rig to open its mouth in the first place!

I have upwards of 20 finite controls to drive the lips, 4 base controls. If i add better volume handling it may go upwards of 40-60 finite controls.

BillSpradlin
03-16-2006, 06:55 PM
I might be just as big of an arse for this reply but I really dont like it when people who cant produce better work or offer constructive comments call someone elses work "crap."

Have you ever gone to resteraunt and thought thought the food sucked? Have you ever driven a car and thought what a cheap peace of crap this thing is? Do you have the ability to be a head chef at a 5 star resteraunt? Do you have the ability to build a car from scratch? I think not. Does that mean you can't have an opinion about something just because you yourself cannot produce something better? In your world apparently it does.

This thread is a prime example of why these boards have gone to complete crap. Thankfully I only use them to see breif glimpses of some nice artwork. I wish there was a way I could just filter out the News and General discussion boards completely so I wouldn't be tempted to wade in the bottomless pit of bickering assholes like in this thread.

FloydBishop
03-16-2006, 06:56 PM
At any rate, I understand why bishop animation has a strict no mocap policy, to be polite, your work doesnt require it.

Hey. Thanks for being polite :)

If you're at the GDC next week, look me up and I'll show you what we're capable of. NDA's have tied up most of what we have done over the past year, which is why it is mostly tests and clips from our short film on our site at the moment.

As far as mocap, our work will never require it, because we won't work on a mocap project.

daHund
03-16-2006, 07:24 PM
Have you ever gone to resteraunt and thought thought the food sucked? Have you ever driven a car and thought what a cheap peace of crap this thing is? Do you have the ability to be a head chef at a 5 star resteraunt? Do you have the ability to build a car from scratch? I think not. Does that mean you can't have an opinion about something just because you yourself cannot produce something better? In your world apparently it does.


what a comparsion....

you ate the meal... you drove the car... did you ever tried FR?

this is like judging the car factory because the car sucks...

shingo
03-16-2006, 07:29 PM
There are so many possible ranges of movement in the mouth, I am not even sure a parametric approach is possible.

It's easy to see how the number of controls can ckyrocket with more conventional approaches to animating it.

This is something ive been looking into for a long time. Corner controll, sticky lips, pucker arent to hard - its roll which maintains volume which is hard. It took me three months just for my rig to open its mouth in the first place!

I have upwards of 20 finite controls to drive the lips, 4 base controls. If i add better volume handling it may go upwards of 40-60 finite controls.

KingMob
03-16-2006, 07:58 PM
Guys, PLEASE avoid personal attacks against peoples work, That is totally uncalled for.

All I have left to say on the Face Robot issue is this

We have used it on a lot of projects here, I won't list them because I don't know what is NDA and what is not. But suffice to say it has saved us a whole hell of a lot of time.

The XSI team has proven time and time again that they are willing to help evolve this software, and continues to help it grow.

This thread is devolving into a "I hate mocap/I hate expensive software" thread, which is really not news anymore, so I am closing this thread, feel free to open one in GD to rant to your hearts content. :thumbsup: