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Watch this: Activision shows off stunning, unsettling next-gen facial rendering

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Activision rendering demo
Activision rendering demo

If you thought Sony's creepy tech demo involving that old man's face was something, wait until you see what Activision's R&D department has been working on. Yesterday the company gave GDC goers a glimpse at what it's calling "next-generation character rendering." Admittedly brief, the clip showcases a number of sophisticated facial animations — all running in real-time — that are a closer approximation of real life than anything we've seen to date in games. The source material comes courtesy of USC Institute for Creative Technologies (Nvidia also incorporated the same data in a demo earlier this month), but what Activision has done with that canvas is rather remarkable. The high-resolution facial data was converted into a "70 bones rig," according to the company, with "advanced techniques" used to give the character's skin and eyes that unsettling sense of realism. Welcome to the uncanny valley, indeed.