but is it art? posted by

Can Digital Actors Act?


Fascinating new technology from Pendulum Studios provides state of the art facial animation and begs the question – how long before we’ll be watching high quality digital movies as part of the mainstream Hollywood catalogue? Answers on a plastic Oscar to… Check out the video (the hands are a bit wrong though, perspective-wise). We heart Shakespeare.

 A fundamental hurdle in bringing digital actors to the screen is achieving realistic facial animation. With the most recent implementations of the Vicon motion-capture system, Los Angles based House of Moves is able to achieve an unparalleled level of precision in the capture of facial motion. …Pendulum’s research into this area has resulted in the creation of a proprietary software application, called Stretchmark. Their primary goal is to make it not only possible, but efficient and economical to bring the nuance of a real actor’s facial performance into the virtual world.

Red – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


  • COOOL! Couple that with a webcam, facial recognition software and Skype video calling, and you can prank call people as whoever you like!

    “… Hi this is George Bush calling. Is your refrigerator running? Cause if it is, you’d better go catch it!! Ha HA!”

    Juvenile, I know. This is me trying not to get too scared by the implications of all this…


  • Charlotte, I, for one, welcome our new facially animated overlords! :-)

  • it is a fascinating technological development, but when are they going to require that all human actors be able to act? we’re so quick to judge new technology’s failings, but have you ever seen Kenanu on the big screen. i’ve had ham sandwiches that had more facial expressions.

  • Red – All hail, our digital lords and masters…

    Is anyone remembering that adorable Kevin Kline movie, Dave? Imagine, if a head of state gets sick or dies, they could use this and pretend it never happened. Might put a bit of a crimper on state dinners and other public functions, but otherwise, who’d know?

  • Hmm…Charlotte, you know I’ve been thinking that we don’t see our heads of state in public a lot any more…but just on the television…hmm……

    Actually more seriously, I reckon that the first real test of the technology is when someone does a real S1m0ne (the movie about a digital ‘starlet’?) stunt.

  • Normand, my sandwiches are often very expressive. :-) Eventually.

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