Epic Games Showcases Real-Time Digital Human with Siren Demo
Despite making great strides in animation and 3D rendering technology, studios have always struggled to create renderings of a person that looks believable in motion. The uncanny valley, as it turns out, is a hurdle that is not so easily surmounted. However, that does not mean that companies have stopped trying – Epic Games, CubicMotion, Tencent, 3Lateral, and Vicon recently banded together and debuted Siren, which is a demo of a woman being rendered in real-time using Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 Technology (which many of you will remember as the same engine that allowed Arc System Works to create games that look indistinguishable from cel-shaded 2D animation.)
The Siren demo was first presented at Epic’s event at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and is being offered to game and film makers for licensing. The demo is pretty impressive – while it still butts head with the uncanny valley, it is already a massive improvement compared to the days of 3D-rendered humans that struggle to convey proper emotions. Additionally, it is also impressive that the technology can be used to render realistic humans in real time. With proper application, this tech will remove the need for pre-rendered cutscenes in games.
Aside from improving realism, Cubic Motion’s tech can also improve cost-efficiency for studios as it allows digital facial animation to be created faster and for less, compared to spending time and resources on digitally animating everything by hand.
You can check out the demo video below:
“Everything you saw was running in the Unreal Engine at 60 frames per second,” said Epic Games chief technology officer Kim Libreri, during a press briefing on Wednesday morning at GDC. “Creating believable digital characters that you can interact with and direct in real-time is one of the most exciting things that has happened in the computer graphics industry in recent years.”