Epic advances in real-time virtual production and digital humans

In a particularly busy week at Epic Games, the company has invested in SideFX, makers of VFX simulation software Houdini, and acquired Hyprsense whose real-time facial motion capture software will be used to progress Epic’s move into creating digital characters. Meanwhile, over at Digital Domain, the company’s own digital human, Douglas, is busy getting his feet under the table

Integrating Houdini with the Unreal Engine will provide enhanced real-time performance to VFX teams and virtual productions. Hypersense adds realtime facial motion capture to speed up its development of convincing digital characters. VFX company Digital Domain’s Douglas, an autonomous digital human agent (assistant), is a development of its ‘Digital Doug’, which is in turn based on DD’s Senior Director of Software R&D, Doug Roble.

Douglas uses Natural Language Processing to combine natural-sounding conversational language and real facial expressions captured from human Doug. Douglas remembers and learns from its conversations and remembers the people it has spoken to, and is such a chameleon-like creation that its face can even be swapped out, for added flexibility. To create Douglas, human Doug was obliged to take part in more than 100 hours of performance capture and the video recording of a book reading and had his photo taken in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Using the Digital Human the team behind Douglas can create a new digital character using just 20 minutes of audio or 10 minutes of video.

Source: VFX Guide