Epic Games has unveiled a new production-based application called Live Link Face for iOS that is designed to capture a user’s facial expressions and head motion to animate an onscreen avatar in real time. The app is available now and can be downloaded via the App Store, and is compatible with devices that are equipped with Apple’s TrueDepth camera function.
According to Epic Games’ blog post, Live Link Face is designed to work for professional and amateur based productions that utilise their Unreal Engine technology. Rather than requiring the traditional motion capture (mocap) points attached to an actor’s face, the app uses Apple’s ARKit augmented reality platform and the aforementioned TrueDepth camera technology. Both of these are commonly found in newer iPhones and iPads.
Furthermore, the Live Link Face app also supports collaborative work, which allows for productions to use multicast networking to synchronise with multiple devices simultaneously. It also features Tentacle Sync technology which allows it to connect with a master clock on stage. Epic Games noted that it will add more improvements to the application down the line with robust timecode support and precise frame accuracy for enhanced multi-device synchronisation.
The developer’s new app looks to be a noteworthy alternative for production studios who wish to pursue a somewhat cheaper approach for facial mocap. So rather than setting aside their budget to build an entire motion capture system, they could opt to use one or several iPhones/iPads instead.
Unfortunately for Android users, Epic did not mention if Live Link Face or an equivalent app is in the works for the platform. Since it does require Apple-based technologies to function, chances of the app launching on Google’s mobile operating system is very slim. Especially the fact that all Android phones are equipped with different front camera setups.
(Source: Epic Games via Unreal Engine official website)