Facial animation outfit Image Metrics has has acquired FacePro, a leading lip sync services and technology company.
The deal will see FacePro's founder Rod Stafford assume responsibility for leading Image Metrics' audio-based facial animation team.
"FacePro is an ideal complement to Image Metrics' Faceware facial animation technology," staed Stafford. "I am excited to blend FacePro's cost effective solution into the high-quality Image Metrics facial animation solution. Together, we can provide our customers with the comprehensive solution they have been asking for."
FacePro has established its business providing automated lip synchronisation that allows art directors the dictate the quality of character mouth movements in relation to audio. Built on recognising phonemes, the audio analysis platform generates weighted-target curves that drive a given facial rig.
Previous FacePro clients include the likes off Activision, Ubisoft, THQ, Square Enix and famed visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic.
"Characters continue to be more important to game development, but their costs continue to grow. At the same time, game developers are under significant pressure to work within limited budgets." added Image Metrics CEO Michael Starkenburg.
"Our customers have asked for a single-source solution for 100 per cent of the facial animation in their games. Blending Image Metrics and FacePro together provides a cost-effective solution at every level of quality. Now, we can provide the optimal/cost requirements of every shot in a game."
Image Metrics is to work on integrating the FacePro technology into its Faceware solution, with an aim to both improve the efficiency and reduce the sometimes vast cost of animation services. Combined, FacePro and Faceware promise to drop the cost of facial animation to as low as $12 per second.