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Digital Humans In Video Games Look More Realistic Than Ever Thanks To This Facial Rig

As rigging demos go this real-time facial rig demo by Snappers is an eye-popping display of technical prowess.

Snappers’ Advanced Rig is an adaptive rig that allows combining any number of expressions using an optimized list of blendshapes. The FACS-based rig logic simulates real facial muscle constraints and is compatible with all game engines and animation packages. The demo below runs real-time on Unreal Engine 4:

Snappers is hardly a secret in the gaming world. Their facial rigging tech is currently used to create digital humans for triple-A titles like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Mafia III, Injustice 2, and was also employed on Guillermo del Toro’s latest feature, The Shape of Water.

Snappers points out these additional features of the rig:

  • Advanced skin shader (for Maya and Unreal): holds up to 16 wrinkles maps and 16 dynamic diffuse maps with micro details and pores stretching.
  • Easy to manipulate using facial controllers and/or GUI.
  • Smooth transition between all the expressions.
  • Adjustment layer: freeform manipulation of multiple regions of the face to create unlimited variations of the same expression.

To get a sense of the progress that has been made in just the last few years, compare the rig above to this Snappers facial rig from 2014:

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