Motion capture technology has come a damn long way since the days of children being horrified by The Polar Express. When it comes to #VideoGames, the impressive advance of the technology has led to some amazing opportunities in video game narratives. Not only can we capture a wider range of subtleties in human expression, but in the case of some games, we can recreate the features of some incredibly talented and famous actors.
See The Faces Behind The Mocap In Your Favorite Games
Whether a game is ambitiously attempting to recreate an actor's features exactly, or mapping the performances of an actor onto a completely different looking character, it's fascinating to see how the finished product stacks up against the original actor. Shall we show you?
#LANoire was a big breakthrough when it came to facial Mocap in games, but like all breakthroughs, it was a shaky start. Millions were spent on new technology which allowed character faces to be lovingly recreated from their motion capture actors. The final result was an impressive array of facial expressions performed by characters that looked like wax dummies from an off-brand Madame Tussauds.
Some characters fared better than others when it came to the technology. Aaron Staton was admirably recreated aside from an oddly ill-fitting hat, but any actor with even a mild squint seemed to lose their eyeballs permanently, like poor John Noble up there.
#HeavyRain did an impressive job of bringing their actors to the digital screen. Despite a slight, LA Noire-style waxy sheen and a haircut for Judi Beecher to bring her more in line with the Standard David Cage Female Character Look(tm), the resemblance is almost uncanny. They also manage to avoid losing anyone's eyeballs in the process, which is admirable.
'Beyond: Two Souls'
Aside from the upcoming Death Stranding, #BeyondTwoSouls may be the most impressive feat of facial motion capture in video games. The accuracy of the character's faces, and their ability to overcome the uncanny valley effect that plagues many games with less advanced Mocap, is impressive.
Quantic Dream and Vicon went to some remarkable lengths to get every detail right when it came to their character rendering. Perhaps a little too impressive, if you believe the leaks that showed the developer had realistically rendered Ellen Paige's nude body, despite it never appearing in the game.
'Uncharted 4: A Thief's End'
When it comes to Motion Capture, Naughty Dog may be the kings. Their ability to capture the subtleties of actors like Nolan North, Emily Rose and Troy Baker and map them on to entirely original face designs is second to none.
Their expertise may come from the fact that at Naughty Dog, everything is done in-house. While other developers work with third party studios to capture their performances, Naughty Dog is in control of everything from start to finish, which offers them a lot of benefits—it certainly looks great!
'Assassin's Creed: Syndicate'
The twin protagonists of the latest #AssassinsCreed game were portrayed by first-timers to Mocap acting, Victoria Atkin and Paul Amos. They not only did the voice acting and facial motion capture, but also a lot of the less insane stunts.
The game's slightly cartoony style worked especially well when it came to capturing the subtleties of the actor's performances and translating things to the face of a completely different character. Evie's efficient brutality in combat is almost cringe inducing at times, and Jacob's facial expressions during cutscenes had me laughing out loud more than once.
Death Stranding seems to be set to combine the best of both worlds when it comes to motion capture technology. Its latest trailers have demonstrated an amazing fidelity and realism of appearance when it comes to capturing the acting of celebrity actors Mads Mikkelsen and Norman Reedus, blending them seamlessly into the bizarre sci-fi horror world around them.
What's even more impressive, after seeing the incredibly subtle facial animations of Guillermo Del Toro's character, is learning that it isn't Guillermo at all! Kojima captured the busy director and producer's likeness with a full body scan, then had another actor do all the actual capture work for the acting.
'The Last Of Us'
#TheLastOfUs, like most of Naughty Dog's games, boasts some pretty damn impressive motion capture, especially considering how little the actors resemble their on-screen characters. Ashley almost makes a better Ellen Paige than Ellen herself!
The upcoming sequel, The Last Of Us Part 2 Is going even further, with a new Mocap technology that allows perfect capture of even the most extreme facial or subtle movements of the face and hands. Just check out the beautiful work on the announcement teaser.
Do you prefer motion captured animation or traditional 3D animation? Who's your favorite Mocap performer? Let us know in the comments!