Today, Image Metrics Inc., one of the leading developers of 3D facial animation technology, has announced the release of the Live Driver Software Development Kit (SDK). Live Driver allows 3D characters to mirror a user’s movements, expressions and emotions through the use of real-time facial analysis and animation technology. The only equipment that a user will require is a standard retail webcam. While any tech-head will be excited to hear about this new Live Driver technology, anyone who partakes in social media, gaming and online communication will be interested to know how Live Driver will affect them.
Live Driver technology has been designed to allow developers to easily use the SDK in a large amount of applications. Now users will be able to have their expressions and emotions portrayed by their favorite 3D avatars and characters in virtual settings. Never before has a user had such natural animation in the fields of social media, gaming, and online communication.
Robert Gehorsam, CEO at Image Metrics, said, “Live Driver takes advantage of the desire for online users to express themselves in creative and compelling ways with the cameras that are on their computers, phones and tablets, and now lets them use that camera for personal animation. We are excited to see how developers will create new ways for users to interact and express themselves via their products.”
So, what changes can people expect other than more realistic creepy/comic face animations over Skype, in particular in the gaming industry?
Since motion gaming has been on the rise ever since the Nintendo Wii popularized the genre, even Microsoft and Sony have jumped on the bandwagon with the Xbox Kinect and PlayStation Move peripherals. The idea that you can control a 3D character with facial expressions doesn’t seem like a very big leap when you consider how far motion gaming has already come. Image Metrics only designs the SDKs; it’s the video game developers who will have to come up with the creative uses for the software. However, it’s not too difficult to imagine the next Call of Duty title including a group of players winking, nodding and sticking their tongues out at each other, which would likely immediately result in a return of the big head cheat code. Ah, video game nostalgia.