Unreal FaceSource: Unreal Engine

What you need to know

  • Epic Games has announced an exciting new app for game developers.
  • It will let them capture facial animations using an iPhone.
  • The app will stream directly onto characters in the Unreal Engine in real-time.

Unreal Engine has announced a new app that will let game developers capture facial animations in real-time, and stream them directly onto characters in Unreal Engine using just an iPhone.

In an announcement yesterday, Epic Games stated:

With each release of Unreal Engine, we aim to bring features that feel like the future of virtual production into the present for filmmakers to easily pick up and use. In the 4.25 release, this meant building something that ships alongside instead of inside the engine through a new iOS app we are proud to unveil—Live Link Face for Unreal Engine—available starting today on the App Store.

According to the post, Live Link Face will let developers stream "high-quality facial animation in real-time from your iPhone directly onto characters in Unreal Engine." It uses Apple's ARKit and the iPhone's TrueDepth front-facing camera to track a face, and transmits the data directly into Unreal Engine. Epic says it can be used by a professional on a stage with multiple actors, or just a single artist at a desk. The announcement continues:

Collaborative virtual production is a particular emphasis of the app, with multicast networking to stream Live Link data to all machines in the Multi-User Editor session simultaneously in order to minimize latency. Robust timecode support and precise frame accuracy enable seamless synchronization with other stage components like cameras and body motion capture. Live Link Face also has Tentacle Sync integration, which allows it to connect to the stage master clock using Bluetooth, ensuring a perfect editorial lineup with all of the other device recordings from the shoot. Sophisticated productions can also make use of the OSC (Open Sound Control) protocol support that lets external applications control the app remotely to do things like initiate recording on multiple iPhones with a single click or tap.

Epic says the app can also be used by streamers, as the app can "natively adjust when performers are sitting at their desk" rather than wearing a head-mounted rig.

You can read the full announcement here.