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Disney Research wants to build more realistic replica human faces

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Two new technologies from Disney Research could lead to more realistic recreations of the human face, both in 3D graphics and animatronics.

Disney 3D facial capture
Disney 3D facial capture

At this year's SIGGRAPH conference Disney Research has presented a number of interesting new touch interfaces, but it also has another area of interest — the human face. The group presented two new facial capture technologies at the conference, one of which is designed to improve the way these systems deal with facial hair. Not only can this new process detect beards, stubble, and even eyebrows, but its algorithm can also determine what the skin underneath that hair looks like, and then recreate it. It consists of a passive camera that's able to gather all of the data it needs to create an accurate 3D model "within the time period of a single exposure."


But it's not just 3D models that Disney wants to improve — it's also working on a technology to make animatronics much more lifelike. Called "Physical Face Cloning," the new process involves designing and fabricating a synthetic skin that accurately represents the subject it's based on. By using 3D capture technology, researchers are able to gather a wide range of facial expressions that are then used to determine the shape and elasticity of the fake skin, which is then placed on an animatronic figure. And the results are surprisingly realistic, as you can see in the video below.