Microsoft is securing a patent in order to create realistic 3D face models from a 2D image source, which could have gaming benefits.
Microsoft is securing a new patent to further enhance its 3D face shape reconstruction technology, which could lead to more realistic faces in videogames.
Microsoft is looking to revolutionise the way faces are modelled with its new patent, which utilises 2D images or other source data to create a 3D model of a face. In the summary description for its new patent, Microsoft highlights that although great steps have been made in reconstructing faces, as Activision proved earlier this year with its own patent, there are still plenty of strides to be made.
This new technique of modelling faces holds some secrets to creating a more realistic 3D model of a face. Using the source data, which can be anything from a 2D image of a face to depth information, the technology will then produce a coarse 3D model of the intended subject. This coarse model will then be refined using free form deformation to create the refined 3D model. In sum, this new way of rendering faces will provide a way to render realistic 3D faces without requiring more than just image data.
If Microsoft can pull this off, it will mean the infamous days of “Craig the Brute” will be over, and that 3D models of faces can be created without much need for multiple images with different poses and lighting, or training data to properly render a face. As gamers are beginning to accept the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 as the current generation of consoles, a boost to facial rendering technology would mean that gaming can take graphical fidelity and believability to the next level.
While Microsoft’s patent document does not specifically state that this 3D rendering technology will be used solely to create realistic faces in video games, it would be a massively missed opportunity not to utilize this technology in Microsoft and Xbox’s upcoming releases. A perfectly modelled face may not be of any benefit to gameplay, but as we’ve seen over the years with graphics becoming better and better, the use of realistic faces that create a believable person lead to more cinematic experiences in gaming. Gamers become more attached to a character and their narrative if they can see a believable face at its forefront.
On the other hand, some may believe realistic face models to be something that should be towards the bottom of Microsoft’s list of priorities. With Halo Infinite’s launch looming, perhaps it would be wiser to keep the focus on the now rather than the future. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s new patent will no doubt be bringing new levels of efficiency and perhaps a new realism to the faces we see in our games, and will likely bring graphical fidelity to the forefront of their newest projects.
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