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Facerig Looks to Change the Face of Avatar Customization

With the next generation of console gaming already upon us, innovative technologies like the Microsoft Kinect and Oculus Rift are already changing the way users interact with games. It seems that motion capture and virtual reality are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as the recently released Facerig demo aims to drastically alter the way we perceive character and avatar customization.

With advanced camera technology, Facerig offers users the ability to translate their facial expressions onto fully rendered 3D characters in real time. So far, the results are impressive to say the least, with reliable output and enough tweakable settings to alter the appearance of a variety of characters. And this is just the beginning – the project is being developed by a small group of people on nights and weekends, and with minimal funding.

The possibilities that arise from this software being integrated into next-generation gaming (now current-gen) are quite exciting, especially for games that involve groups of players with custom characters that traverse worlds completing quests together (‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ for instance). For example, when in close proximity, you could see your friends’ real-life facial expressions represented in real-time on their avatars’ digital faces (picture the frustration of someone being put under a stasis spell, the excitement and accomplishment of beating a tough enemy, or the agony of defeat). With the aid of voice manipulation, that 12-year old demon character who loves to troll and take cheap shots at you when you least expect it (laughing and shouting obscenities as he does) can now actually sound like a monster from the netherworld rather than the prepubescent little jerk that he is :P

It all translates into a deeper connection with the characters that we create in games. It allows hardcore fantasy addicts to come ever closer to actually becoming their characters, and may even lead to a few kids joining acting programs as a result (or more personalized cosplay at the very least). Facerig definitely has the potential to make big waves in gaming and chat services in the near future. Watch the demo embedded on this page to find out more, or to get an in-depth look at the various features of the software, check out the Facerig video page here.

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