Starfield: Game Artist Breaks Down Facial Animation Issues
Game artists face many roadblocks while trying to bring characters to life with facial animation. However, with Starfield – a major upcoming AAA role-playing game from Bethesda Game Studios – pushing the boundaries of facial animation, it’s worth taking a look at the struggles and successes of the game artist tasked with creating the game’s characters.
Creating Facial Animations
Animations that mimic the subtle motions of a face are incredibly difficult to get right, particularly when it comes to facial expressions like joy, sadness, or anger. Game artists must take into consideration specific features such as the size and shape of the eyes, the placement of the mouth, and the wrinkles or other details that occur when a character interacts with the environment.
The Starfield Experiment
For Starfield, the game artist had one goal in mind: to bring life-like facial expressions to the game’s characters. To do this, the artist built data-driven procedural tools that can interpret a character’s facial motions and convert them into animation sequences. The idea was to create animations that reflect the nuanced and varied emotions that a real character might exhibit.
The Challenges of Facial Animation
Though the data-driven tools were a start, the game artist still faced a few challenges. For example, each motion of the jaw or eyes must be accurate, which can be difficult to capture in a virtual world. The artist must also take into account how the characters’ facial expressions should change during the course of a conversation or scene.
Bringing Facial Animation to Life
Thankfully, the game artist found a way to bridge the gap between animation technology and real-life facial expressions, thanks to state-of-the-art game engines and AI technology. By leveraging advanced animation tools and machine learning, the artist was able to create incredibly realistic facial animations, which are expected to be a prominent feature of Starfield.
Facial animation is incredibly complex, but the game artist of Starfield was able to create impressive results thanks to data-driven tools and state-of-the-art game engines. By leveraging these tools and technologies, the artist was able to bridge the gap between animation and reality.