Roundup: Photogrammatry, Facial Animation, And More

Apologies for the silence of late - I’ve been extremely busy with both film and non-film related things.

However, work is still progressing fast. I’m currently attempting, with some success, to solve the perennial problem of creating sets for VR / Machinima movies using photogrammatery - the technique of taking pictures of a real-life object and then transforming it into a 3D model. I looked into Photogrammatery a few years ago, when it was the very definition of Not Ready For Primetime, but it has changed significantly since then.

Here’s a great article from a computer games company using the same techniques. In particular, their points about non-tiling textures are right on - real-world sourced objects and sets make a colossal difference.

In other news, I’ve also happened across some great technology which, with some additional massaging and code, will solve the problem of facial animation and lipsynch for us. Very exciting times.

I’ve also been testing out the new independent version of FaceShift , the high-end facial motion capture system. Big thanks to Jay Grenier from Faceshift who spent about an hour on Skype with me patiently debugging a dongle problem there! My conclusion is that it’s not quite at the level of some of the other tools I’m testing, but it has a lot of potential - and for game devs, might be just the thing.

And finally, look for a new pilot from me very soon - something considerably different to anything Strange Company has produced before. I’ve been generating series ideas at a hell of a rate over the first half of this year, and with the new production processes, I can turn them from theory to reality much faster than ever before.

Indeed, the biggest problem I’m facing right now is speeding up the story end of things - actually turning an idea into a script. On that note, I must plug DKLS contributor and long-term creative peer of mine Martin Page’s new book, Storyteller Tools. I’ve watched Martin develop his Rapid Story Methodology over 10 years now, and I’ve borrowed bits of it for my own writing on story creation - including in Machinima for Dummies.

Storyteller Tools is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time he’s written it all down. If you want to tell stories, you need to read it.

And that’s it for now! I may be back soon with a dissection of the state of play in the television industry at the moment - it’s a weird, weird world out there right now. See you!