ILM Introduces Muse Facial Capture on TMNT

Industrial Light & Magic has a new facial capture system that was unveiled on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. According to ILM, it represents the most flexible capture system to date.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (led by VFX supervisor Pablo Helman and animation supervisor Tim Harrington) features believable CG character performances for the six iconic superheroes created with equal parts performance capture and keyframe animation. Total CG screen time is 43 minutes.

ILM Muse, the advanced facial capture system pioneered on this film, allows for the actor’s performance to be captured on-set or in a volume at the highest fidelity. This becomes the basis for the CG character’s performance which then have the ability to be manipulated if necessary by an animator.

Though still early in its development, Muse is comprised of both hardware and software including twin head-mounted HD cameras and a back-end solver that allows animators direct access to the capture data as editable animation curves in Maya rather than an indecipherable series of keyframes.

“Where the technology [goes further], we were able to select different takes and then blend them in one performance,”  explains director Jonathan Liebesman. “So that was something that ILM did a lot of R&D on, enabling us to not to have to stick to one take, and that gives you a lot of flexibility in post-production.”

And for the first time in its history, ILM captured eye movement, teeth, and even the tongue. “The technology they were using was a lot more challenging and took a long time to research, so by the time we got to the set, it was sort of user friendly.  In a way, what’s difficult for our film is there are no ninja turtles [for the artists to reference].”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, performance capture, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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