Animation Expert John Riggs Joins as Director, Avatar Development
Purchase Expands Image Metrics' High Fidelity Facial Animation Solutions with Advanced Facial Rigging Technology for Efficient Avatar Creation
SANTA MONICA, CA - June 30, 2010 - Image Metrics, Inc. (OTC BB: IMGX), the leading provider of facial animation technology for the entertainment industry, announced today that it has acquired avatar technology company Character-FX, founded by 3D animation pioneer John Riggs.
Character-FX is an integrated facial rigging tool-set created by Riggs for Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max. The technology helps to create character facial rigs using a proprietary automated weighting transfer system that rapidly shifts a character's facial motion for incredibly life-like movements. It can be applied to any character, at any quality level, whether based on joints, blend-shapes, or a combination. This technology has been used in a wide set of production environments and has proven its broad applicability to a variety of project needs.
Image Metrics plans to integrate Character-FX technology into its market-leading FACEWARE animation suite. The integration will cost effectively provide Image Metrics customers with characters that can be animated to a higher level of believability, in a fraction of the time required for traditional avatar creation methods.
The acquisition follows the successful joint deployment of Image Metrics and Character-FX technologies to create the animation behind the photo-real recreation of legendary basketball coach John Wooden in a recent NCAA commercial that initially aired during the National College Basketball Championships.
"The Character-FX rigging process was designed to create a highly flexible character model, in a way that fits with any production environment," said Riggs. "As Image Metrics' unique animation technology is the perfect platform for animating Character-FX avatars quickly and believably, the integration of Character-FX with Image Metrics' performance-based animation software will produce characters whose expressions and movement resonate with audiences and gamers."
"It takes a great computer-generated character and a great performance driving it to make a scene feel real and believable. To create facial animation that features these elements, Image Metrics has developed a unique technology for capturing the soul of an actor's performance, and the addition of the Character-FX technology will massively accelerate our ability to create and animate great character models," said Michael Starkenburg, Image Metrics' CEO. "Image Metrics is dedicated to providing our customers with the technology they need to efficiently and cost effectively create incredible character performances. This acquisition allows us to take another step in that direction."
Image Metrics has also appointed Riggs as Director, Avatar Development, to provide crucial real-world experience for the development of future Image Metrics technology products. Riggs is a 3D animation expert who has been working in the video game, television and film industries for over 15 years, in leading London and Los Angeles animation studios specializing in video games, film and television. He has worked as a senior technical director at Luma Pictures and as a technical director at Digital Domain and Threshold Entertainment. Riggs' animation experience includes the feature films Jimmy Neutron, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Wolverine, Flags of Our Fathers and video games such as Harry Potter and Catwoman.
About Image Metrics, Inc.
Image Metrics provides facial animation software and services to the interactive entertainment and film industries. Developed by a team of computer vision Ph.D.s, Image Metrics' proprietary software utilizes video of an actor's performance to drive the animation of a facial performance without markers or makeup. This patented process achieves unparalleled levels of realism and fidelity faster and more efficiently than alternative methods such as motion capture or frame-by-frame animation. Image Metrics' clients include Activision-Blizzard, Rockstar, Microsoft, 2K, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sega, Sony, Bethesda, DNeg, Motion Theory and Moving Picture Company. Image Metrics is based in Manchester, UK and Santa Monica, CA. www.image-metrics.com