Cubic Motion has announced the inclusion of audio-driven animation to its canon of animation services.
Generally considered an alternative to more expensive methods of character animation, the firm has said that its new service aims to be comparable to animation generated by other methods.
"We've looked around at various audio-based solutions and couldn't find what we were looking for, so we decided to develop ideas of our own. The important thing is to ensure that we produce animation data which includes plausible expressions which have accurate interactions with speech,” said Dr. Steve Caulkin, chief scientific officer at Cubic Motion.
“We also need to ensure that the facial dynamics generated by an audio pipeline are absolutely consistent with real facial movement. Finally, we have to support a very wide range of rigs, including cartoons and nonhuman faces".
Cubic Motion CEO Dr. Gareth Edwards was keen to explain the company’s approach to offering this new service.
"I'm a huge advocate of video-based animation, but I recognize the need for more cost-effective solutions when animation is needed in extremely large volume,” he explained.
“We've brought the cost of video-based animation down to levels that any developer can use, but we also need to bear in mind that there's a production and direction overhead in filming actors. Sometimes, audio-driven animation is an important part of production.”
The Cubic boss went on to describe the general methodology of his company in delivering its products.
“At Cubic, we only have one quality level, "final", and so we want all the data we deliver to be consistent. In particular, we don't like to see huge quality variation across different animation in the same game, so it's important that animation derived from audio doesn't look out of place alongside other types of animation,” he said.
“We make no apologies for the significant amount of human involvement in all our processes, and this includes audio-driven animation. Only by detailed expert inspection and oversight at all stages of production can we ensure the highest standards."