Technology behind facial animation in Rockstar’s L.A. Noire

For the last five years, Australian game developer Team Bondi has been working with the technology behind Rockstar’s latest third-person detective game slated for 2011, “L.A. Noire.”

Rather than animating the facial features of the game’s characters with computers, Team Bondi has been using optical cameras to capture real actors playing out the scenes from the game. The videos are then translated into a digital image and placed on the characters in the game.

Because the animations originate from the motions of real actors, this creates much more believable facial features. According to Team Bondi president Brendan McNamara, players will be able to detect even the subtleties of a lie while interrogating in-game characters.

“With previous kind of technologies that you’d use, like facial motion capture we didn’t really ever feel that we could pull that off,” McNamara says in the video above. “With this technology, what you see is what you get.”

This developing technology is quite a shift from the mindset of programming to a more organic approach of live performances — McNamara is even considered a director on this project rather than a team lead. This technology may not entirely cross the gaping chasm of the uncanny valley, but it certainly builds the scaffolding for the proverbial bridge.

Video Credit: Rockstar/Team Bondi 

Upload Credit: Pixel Enemy


16 Responses to “Technology behind facial animation in Rockstar’s L.A. Noire”

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    Is this the future of video games or just a diversion?

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