Activision shows off uncanny, next-gen facial rendering tech at GDC 2013

With next-generation consoles on the horizon, game graphics of human characters will make the attempt to cross the "uncanny valley," a theoretical chasm depictions of human likeness must cross to look indistinguishable from a real person, rather than creepy. Quantic Dream showcased their remarkable technology at the PlayStation 4 reveal conference last month. Now Activision showed off their impressive character rendering tech yesterday at this year’s Game Developers Conference.

Activision technical director Jorge Jimenez said the results he and the Activision Research & Development team presented at GDC 2013, "represents to us the culmination of many years of work in photorealistic characters" Speaking on behalf of the team, Jimenez explained, "For us, the challenge goes beyond entertaining; it’s more about creating a medium for better expressing emotions, and reaching the feelings of the players."

The footage shown is running in real-time with DirectX 11 on a PC containing a Geforce GTX 680. Scans of real human heads were converted to a 70 bones rig.

Based on the screenshots and video test footage, Activision’s facial tech is certainly great looking, but not perfect. Jamirez is aware of that and stated they will focus on such aspects as more realistic hair, teeth, and eyebrows.

Seems like realistic facial rendering is all the rage at GDC 2013 this week, Electronic Arts and DICE wowed with Battlefield 4 running on Frostbite 3 and Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V on the FOX Engine blew people’s minds as well.

Check out the demo video and other screenshots on Jamirez’s blog then let us know who you think has the best facial tech in the comments below.