Softimage Unveils Face Robot Software

News

Revolutionary new technology delivers realistic, lifelike facial animation for high-end film, post and games projects

Last Updated: March 9, 2006 10:21 pm GMT
(Los Angeles – March 9, 2006) Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID) today announced that its Softimage subsidiary has unveiled SOFTIMAGE®|FACE ROBOTTM – the industry's first software application dedicated to the creation of believable facial animation for high-end film, post and games productions.

Designed for studios faced with high-quality or high-volume facial animation requirements, Face Robot software represents a technological breakthrough by enabling professionals to animate a digital human face with higher quality results and in less time than using traditional methods. In just six easy steps, artists can generate emotive expressions that replicate natural, organic movement of skin and soft tissue. The software works with all major 3D applications and easily integrates into any studio pipeline.

"Believable facial animation is arguably the hardest problem in computer graphics today, and a huge challenge for 3D production," said Marc Stevens, vice president of Softimage. "Face Robot is an important step for Softimage, building on our long-standing heritage of innovation focused on revolutionizing the way 3D animators work. We are very excited to deliver a new technology that truly empowers artists to bring human characters to life with unprecedented quality and efficiency."

Currently, the most common methods for animating human faces are complex, labor-intensive and time-consuming, typically requiring artists to create a series of shapes for each facial expression. With Face Robot software, artists save valuable production time by directly manipulating various anatomical features such as the mouth, eyebrows and jaw. With the ability to exercise precise control, Face Robot offers the freedom to sculpt the nuances of an expression at any point during the animation process. With the software's unique soft-tissue "solver," Face Robot simulates how facial tissue slides and deforms during the formation of expressions and includes a corrective sculpting system for detailed art direction.

Michael Isner, manager of special projects at Softimage and leader of the Face Robot development team, said, "The main objective behind developing Face Robot is to maximize the life-like appearance of a face while minimizing the difficulty of getting there. By working closely with top animators in the industry, we delivered a tool that is dedicated to enhancing the artistic approach to a 3D workflow. With a streamlined production process focused solely on facial behavior, Face Robot is poised to have a tremendous impact on the industry."

With built-in support for importing and exporting of Autodesk 3ds Max® and Maya® file formats, Face Robot software can be easily incorporated into existing pipelines, offering further interoperability.

Key Features include:
  • Integrated facial soft tissue solver
  • Direct manipulation of face controls
  • Visual animation interface
  • Iterative performance refinement tools
  • Animation retargeting
  • SDK and multiple scripting languages
  • Point caching with all major 3D applications
  • .C3D Motion file import
  • Import and export Maya .mb &.fbx, 3ds Max .max, Point Oven .psc, and .lwo2
  • Reference HD footage of actors performing facial expression and phonemes

Pricing & Availability
SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT software is expected to be available in March 2006 for purchase in the following configurations:
  • SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT Designer is available for $94,995 USMSRP, and is a complete environment to prepare, solve and animate faces. Designer includes the tools to define wrinkles and puffing, place tendons and fine-tune the mouth. It also includes all of the functionality of a seat of Animator. In a typical pipeline, a single seat of Designer is used with several seats of Animator.
  • SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT Animator is available for $14,995 USMSRP. Animator animates faces prepared using Designer. Animator is a hybrid environment for both keyframe animation and motion capture. It uses a powerful retargeting algorithm that transfers animation and motion capture across faces and offers high-level tuning controls.

More information, videos and background details on the technology are available at http://www.softimage.com/

About Softimage Co.
Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc. delivers innovative, artist-friendly character creation and effects tools to animators and digital artists in the film, broadcast, post-production and games industries. Its flagship product, SOFTIMAGE|XSI® - the industry's only non-destructive digital character production software - frees character animators and digital artists to create compelling animated 3D content and effects - from major motion pictures to CG features and commercials, to video games. For more information about Softimage, please visit http://www.softimage.com

About Avid Technology, Inc.
Avid Technology, Inc. is the world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games, and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively, and creatively. For more information about the company's Oscar®, Grammy®, and Emmy® award-winning products and services, please visit: http://www.avid.com

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