Video game enthusiasts may soon see body movements that become increasingly realistic with improved facial expressions. Evidence of that is work just performed on the game FIFA 2014 that tracked the kicks and movements of soccer player Gareth Bale in precise detail.
Entrepreneur Marla Rausch of Animation Vertigo in Irvine, California says new technology is trying to close the gap between body movements and facial expressions and the movie Avatar showed a dramatic trend in that direction.
"It's hard and people don't think about all the motion in a face. There are nuances in muscles and emotions that are subtle like a crease in forehead or a tiny twinge in the cheek to signify a smile and smirk."
Marla says this is harder to capture and integrate into the body. "If we can do this then you'll have true expression."
She says the challenge is clear in older video games where the facial movements would not match how the arms would move.
Markers or sensors are placed on actors to create the motion and Marla said a body may typically have 52 markers placed while a face can have as many as 90 markers.
Marla said there is a market demand for what she called "Triple A franchise products" that people love and want to play. "Fewer games are being done that are original or smaller. The larger scale games may be produced once a year so that impacts production."
Among the major franchises produced by companies in Europe and North American include FIFA 2014, World War Z, the Narnia series, the Titans series, Harry Potter series, Golden Compass, and Gladiator.
The economy is forcing companies throughout the entertainment spectrum to move forward carefully. "It used to be during tough economic times that people kept spending entertainment dollars as a release or escape from the day's problems," said Marla. "That's changed. The presence of casual games on Facebook, iPhone, and mobile games have affected video game industry."
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