Facial Animation Technology and Specialist Localization Companies Partner for Improved Character Animation and Seamless Integration with Developer Pipelines
LOS ANGELES— Feb. 24, 2010— Image Metrics, the leading provider of facial animation technology products and services for the entertainment industry and Babel Media, the leading provider of outsourced localization services to the games and interactive entertainment industries, are teaming up to radically improve facial animation quality in localized video games and significantly improve the player’s experience.
“With localized versions driving an increasing amount of blockbuster game revenues, developers need a more efficient and more effective solution for localization of dialogue and animation in multilingual titles than the current practice of dubbing titles by manually syncing existing English facial movements to the localized audio track,” said Brian Waddle, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Image Metrics.“Our solution eliminates poorly dubbed titles and instead affordably produces a more realistic, richer and more immersive localized version, which will significantly improve the player’s experience. Babel Media has a rich heritage of translating and recording AAA titles and offers a truly global service with over 400 in-country translators and numerous local recording studios, making them the perfect partner for Image Metrics to improve the quality of localized games for our clients.”
As Image Metrics’ facial animation technology is based on video of an actor’s performance, the process accurately reflects the mouth, tongue and subtle facial nuances associated with local dialects. To localize a title through the new partnership, Babel Media will capture the facial movements of a localization actor on video while simultaneously recording audio in one of its many global studios. Image Metrics will then use the video footage of the actor’s performance to create localized animation data using its automated and highly accurate technology that can be integrated directly into a game on the existing character rigs.
Babel Media's proven localization capabilities, combined with Image Metrics’ unique facial animation technology solution, can easily integrate into customers pipelines to provide high volumes of superior quality facial animation for localized games with near-immediate turnaround and zero impact on the developer.
“Developing games which connect with local cultures and give the player a fully immersive experience are critical to success in the global video game markets,” said Richard Leinfellner CEO Babel Media.“Image Metrics’ facial animation adds impressive believability to games and greatly supplements our deep knowledge of localization, audio and pre/post production processes; no longer does it take valuable development team time to get great localized on-screen acting. Image Metrics’ unique ability to produce realistic facial animation more quickly and cost-effectively than any other solution currently available on the market makes the company an ideal partner that will allow developers to localize titles more rapidly than ever before.”
Image Metrics’ distinct proprietary animation process is based on computer vision technology and requires no markers, make-up or costly equipment. Instead, an actor is simply filmed on video, ensuring that the process captures every nuance of the performance. Video footage is then automatically analyzed and transferred to a computer-generated (CG) model, offering unparalleled accuracy, efficiency and realism. Image Metrics has worked on dozens of games, including Assassin’s Creed II, GTA IV, and Blur. To learn more about Image Metrics and how to localize titles in conjunction with Babel Media, attendees of the 2010 Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco can visit booth #1910-SH from March 11– 13, 2010, or visit www.image-metrics.com.
About Image Metrics
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 rapidly re-creates facial performances without markers or makeup, achieving levels of realism and fidelity that are unparalleled in computer graphics. Image Metrics’ solutions enjoy widespread adoption by some of the best-known production studios in the entertainment world, including Digital Domain, Rockstar Games and Sony Computer Entertainment. Image Metrics has offices in Santa Monica, California and Manchester, U.K.
About Babel Media
Babel is the leading international provider of specialist services to the games and interactive entertainment industries. Founded in 1999, the company is part of the Quatrro Group, which brings global scale and a strong financial backing. Babel has been voted Best Outsourcing Company at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008). Babel provides outsourced services across all platforms of quality assurance testing, translation, audio recording, localized print, as well as mobile certification testing and mobile handset porting. Babel is an approved Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo QA test partner, as well as an official test house for Nokia, Java Verified and Vodafone. Babel works with allthe major names in the mobile, handheld and pc, console games industry, including SCE, SEGA, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Microsoft, THQ, Warner Bros, Vodafone, Digital Chocolate, Glu, Gameloft, Nokia, Square Enix, Namco Bandai, Activision-Blizzard, Lucas Arts and Eidos.