R&D fund for new facial animation tech gains boost from development agency

Cubic Motion receives £100,000 grant

Cubic Motion, the performance based facial animation specialists, has received a £100,000 R&D grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to research new facial animation tech.

Cubic Motion has said that they hope the grant will allow them to create a system for “real-time transfer of extremely detailed facial movements from video to 3D characters at production levels of quality.”

The firm said this solution would dramatically improve its workflow and efficiency of its facial animation, and even make new products possible.

"A real-time system capable of generating animation to professional level of quality is a difficult challenge,” said Cubic Motion researcher Dr Steve Caulkin.

“The research team here at Cubic have a great deal of experience in this area, and whilst we’ve seen the emergence of limited-quality attempts at real-time processing, we believe that achieving the level of precision required for usable, professional results requires a fundamental breakthrough in technology,” he added.

Cubic Motions CEO Dr Gareth Edwards said: "We are pleased with this insightful support of the work we do here at Cubic. This is an important contribution to our research activity and indicates a willingness to help maintain the UK’s position as a leading innovator in animation and visual effects."

NWDA chief executive Steven Broomhead enthused about the potential outcomes of Cubic Motion’s research.

"Cubic Motion’s project offers a level of innovation that if fully realised, could have commercial opportunities in a huge global industry,” he said.

“Englands Northwest is home to one of the UKs largest gaming industries, at the cutting edge of design and development. The Agency is pleased to offer a Grant for Research and Development and wish Cubic Motion every success with the project.”

The R&D grant is part of Solutions for Business, a governmental package of public-funded business support for start-up firms. After the recent economic troubles the grant is now funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) alongside the NWDA to the combined tune of £2.3m.

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