New iPhone app brings mocap to Unreal Engine 4

New iPhone app brings mocap to Unreal Engine 4
Videogames are so realistic nowadays that sometimes you can mistake them for the real thing. However, there’s one challenge that’s yet to be overcome - facial expressions. Even when games have almost perfect backgrounds and level design, rendering realistic human faces remains difficult. A new iOS app that uses your iPhone to capture facial expressions and send them to Unreal Engine 4 in real-time can help deal with the problem.

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Live Link Face streams high-quality facial animation in real-time from your iPhone directly onto characters in Unreal Engine. According to a blog post by Ryan Mayeda, Product Manager at Epic Games, the new app could be used in a professional game production setting, like a studio with actors in mocap suits, but also by single artists and content creators. Live Link Face utilizes Apple’s ARKit together with the iPhone’s front-facing TrueDepth camera to do its magic and can be downloaded from the App Store.

There’s no information whether an Android version of Live Link Face is in the works, but chances are slim. Depth sensors and other 3D capturing tech vary wildly from one Android device to another and it's nearly impossible to ensure that the app will work with all of them.

Unreal Engine is one of the most popular production tools in the gaming industry. Making facial mocap more accessible and widely available will result in more realistic characters in future games.

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