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The three recipients of the Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) focused on different parts of the system, while all working together.

The FACETS system captured actors on set with mono head mounted cameras, interacting with fellow actors and then as a post-process produced extremely high quality facial animation for virtual characters. It was developed for the film Avatar at Weta Digital in New Zealand.

Iain Matthews was building on his academic research into Active Appearance Models (AAM).  This work focused on the high quality micro detection and face tracking work that was done offline. While some realtime tracking was done on set, there was also slightly slower, non-real time, but high quality facial processing so that the next stage of the process had the most accurate data possible.

Luca Fascione worked on the solver that takes the facial tracked data and ‘solves’ it into a set of blendshapes which are then presented to the Weta artists as a set of interpolating and combined facial expressions.  “I was doing the solver part – the part that goes from the micro positions on the face to driving blendshape channels on the virtual characters” he explained.

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