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Headshot: create real-time virtual characters for films from a single photo

It’s the rise of the real-time digital double, with the Character Creator Headshot technology from Reallusion that was recently presented at SIGGRAPH Asia: virtual characters can be created in minutes.

Headshot: create real-time virtual characters for films from a single photo

Automatically generate a digital human for anything from movies to virtual production in minutes from one single photo, with the new Reallusion Headshot plugin that uses AI technology.

Creating realistic digital doubles normally requires a massive effort in 3D techniques which often involve many artists and passes, but that’s changing with the release of Headshot Plugin for Character Creator 3. Headshot uses AI technology to automatically generate digital human in minutes from one single photo, but that’s not all, as those characters are not liveless: they are fully rigged for voice lipsync, facial expression, and full body animation.

“The major shift is that most digital humans are demos and single character research examples, but Reallusion has developed a practical product that is ready to start generating characters for films, games, immersive experiences and even virtual production.” said John C. Martin, VP of Product Marketing, Reallusion.

9 minutes to create a digital double of a real actor

Headshot allows game developers and virtual production teams to immediately funnel a cast of digital doubles into iClone, Unreal, Unity, Maya, ZBrush and more.  The idea is to allow the digital humans to go anywhere they like and give creators a solution to rapidly develop, iterate and collaborate in real-time.

The Character Creator Headshot technology was recently presented at SIGGRAPH Asia Real-time Live in Brisbane and featured by Real-time Live Chair Mike Seymour. During the presentation at SIGGRAPH Asia in Brisbane, John Martin, Vice-President of Reallusion, showed the technology behind Headshot. During a demonstration to show the potential of the tool, one real world situation was explored: a director asks for a 3D real-time animation of a scene with an actor. Based on a single JPEG portrait of the actor, a live animation of its digital double is created in nine minutes. That’s the magic Headshot puts in the hands of professionals and enthusiasts.

The digital doubles created through intelligent texture blending and head mesh creation,  are, as mentioned above, fully rigged for voice lipsync, facial expression, and full body animation, meaning users just have to include them in the scenes required. Headshot contains two AI modes: Pro Mode and Auto Mode, to adapt to the needs of different types of users.

The Auto Mode and the Pro Mode

The Auto Mode is a one-click solution for creating mid-res digital human crowds. This intelligent process allows one-click head and hair creation for real-time 3D head models. It also generates a separate 3D hair mesh with alpha mask to soften edge lines. The 3D hair is fully compatible with Character Creator‘s conformable hair format (.ccHair). Users can add them into their hair library, and apply them to other CC characters.

The Pro Mode is designed to create extreme face details for professional digital doubles. The Headshot Pro Mode offers the fully control for 3D head generation process with advanced features such as Image Matching, Photo Reprojection and Custom Mask with upto 4096 texture resolution. Pro Mode includes Headshot 1000+ sculpting morphs, Image Mapping and Texture Reprojection tools.

The Image Matching Tool overlays an image reference plane for advanced head shape refinement and lens correction. With Photo Reprojection users can easily fix the texture-to-mesh discrepancies resulting from face morph change. Utilizing high-res source images and Headshot’s 1000+ Morphs users can get a scan quality digital human face in 4K texture details. Additional textures include normal, AO, roughness, metallic, SSS and Micro Normal for more realistic digital human rendering.

Headshot: create real-time virtual characters for films from a single photo

Early Bird special price

Headshot Morph 1000+ is a complete 3D head morph system designed to achieve the professional and detailed look of 3D scan models. The intuitive 3D sculpting design allow users to hover over a control area and use directional mouse drags to adjust the corresponding mesh shape, from full head and face sculpting to individual features – head contour, face, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears with more than 1000 head morphs. It is now free with a purchase of Headshot Plugin.

The introduction of Headshot and its easy way to turn one single photo into a realistic digital human… or something else, has moved some early adopters to explore the potential of the tool, creating interesting celebrity lookalikes, which you can find following the link to the Reallusion forum. You’ll find here Obama, Trump, Pennywise, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Hopkins, Bela Lugosi,  Data (Brent Spiner) or Freddie Mercury.

The Headshot plugin for Character Creator is available now and has a price of $199. The plug-in comes with the content pack Headshot Morph 1000+ ($99) . The Character Creator 3 Pipeline costs $199. If you’re interested in the Headshot plug-in, don’t miss out on the Early Bird specials, which are available a limited time only. Visit the website for more info.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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