Face2face® Animation Announces First Facial Animation Plug-In for Apple Quicktime; Enables High-Quality, Rapid Animation
face2face Provides MPEG-4 Facial Animation Support for QuickTime; Delivers Integrated Support for Kaydara FBX for Animators, Production Companies
Las Vegas – April 7, 2003 – face2face® animation inc., the premier provider of facial animation, today announced that it has developed a plug-in for Apple QuickTime(TM) 6, the first facial animation plug-in for the popular player. Based on the face2face player(TM), a real-time streaming MPEG-4 authoring technology, the face2face QuickTime plug-in enables QuickTime 6 developers and users to create and distribute high-quality, 30 frames per second facial characters with realistic lip-sync. The face2face QuickTime plug-in is available for download today at the face2face Web site at www.f2fanimation.com
face2face animation's founder and chief scientist, Dr. Eric Petajan, who chairs the MPEG-4 Standards Body's Face and Body Animation subcommittee, supervised the development of the face2face QuickTime plug-in. The face2face player delivers full 30 frames-per-second animation - with audio and background images - in a streaming file that is less than 14.4 kilobits per second (kb/s).
"The adoption of open standards for next-generation multi-platform is a key move for today's content creators, and we believe that QuickTime support will enable greater MPEG-4 animation development," said Petajan. "The QuickTime community has embraced multi-platform creation and distribution of content, and the face2face QuickTime plug-in delivers the same 2 kilobit per second stream through QuickTime, regardless of the platform over which the content is distributed."
face2face animation will also extend its QuickTime plug-in support to its partnership with Kaydara, which markets the Kaydara FBX(TM) file interchange format, one of the most popular digital content interchange formats. Through FBX, which has been integrated with QuickTime, the face2face player will enable animators to create high-quality, low-cost facial animations directly from digital video output or semiautomatically generate a face model from a single image of a face, along with perfect lip-synch.
"Content developers seek a seamless environment for the exchange of assets, and the face2face plug-in for QuickTime adds another tool for animators that are developing cinema-quality content for online and wireless applications," said Jean-Jacques Hermans, vice president of marketing and business development for Kaydara. "The growing community of QuickTime developers that use FBX will now be able to create higher quality animation at faster rates and at lower overall production costs."
The face2face player has been tested over Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Vodafone, and Orange networks in the United States and Europe.
"The creative pipeline for multi-platform video and animation content is about to be filled by developers that are, today, using open standards tools for the broadest dissemination of content," said Rick Doherty, president of digital analyst firm Envisioneering. "The addition of a tool such as the face2face player, for QuickTime, is a further example of MPEG-4's increased power in the animation industry.
The face2face player: How It Works
Using the face2face MPEG-4 authoring tools, face models can be animated semiautomatically from regular digital video capture, and created from a single still image of a face. The face2face player delivers elegant, engaging results without expensive and time-consuming animation processes. A simple "announcer" stream of a face, including background images and audio, can be achieved over a connection as low as 14.4 kilobits per second (kb/s), with the face2face player.
The face2face player demonstrates progress for the MPEG-4 standard - which enables digital content to be published seamlessly in multiple platforms, from film and television to Web and wireless networks.
The lightweight nature of the face2face player enables full 30 frames-per-second animation content can be streamed over any wireless network at under 14.4 kb/s, with each animated face streamed at 2 kb/s per face. The face2face player is a special real-time animated textured mesh that is designed to be driven by MPEG-4 Facial Animation Parameters (FAPs). Users can extract from digital video into the face2face MPEG-4 facial motion capture system, without markers or expensive animation software, and render into the new face2face player.
Petajan is a leading authority on face and body animation for the MPEG-4 standard, having helped shape the MPEG-4 standard for facial animation as chairman of the MPEG-4 Face and Body Animation group. While at Bell Labs, Petajan developed the core, patented technologies that enabled the face2face technology.
Petajan was integral in the development of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standard for digital television in the United States.
face2face's player is driven by Facial Animation Parameter (FAP) data, as specified by the MPEG-4 standard. Facial expressions, lip movements and head motion information are transferred to a face model that can be driven by speech, singing, and any other facial motion, automatically. face2face's technology is being adopted by film and television animators, as well as game developers and Web content producers for advertising, corporate communications, and virtual call center applications.
face2face is part of the Kaydara FBX(TM) community, in support of the file interchange format, and provides support for the recently-released Kaydara MotionBuilder 4.0(TM) suite in the face2face facial motion capture system. Face models can currently be developed with the face2face plug-in for Softimage, 3ds max, Maya, or the face2face software for a textured fixed mesh.
MPEG-4 is the interactive coding standard for all digital multimedia platforms. Developed by the "Moving Picture Experts Group" that designed MPEG-2 (the digital television standard), MPEG-1, and MP3. Being object-based and extending beyond video and audio, MPEG-4 supports rich, interactive, standards-based multimedia from low bandwidths to transparent quality. For more information, visit the MPEG-4 Industry Forum Web site at www.m4if.org.
About face2face animation
face2face animation, inc., based in Summit, New Jersey, is the premier provider of facial motion capture and performance animation for the production of content for television, film, Internet, gaming, and wireless platforms. face2face's facial animation process enables life-like lip synch and facial movements for characters that are created automatically from any digital video source. This cost-efficient approach enables the production of high-quality facial animation without specialized modeling software or markers. face2face produces specialized face and body animation content for electronic games, television, advertising, corporate communications, training, and both wired and wireless Internet. The company was founded in 2000, as a Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) venture, capitalizing on core technologies that were developed by Eric Petajan at Bell Labs. For more information, visit the Web site at www.f2fanimation.com.
Kaydara is a trademark of Kaydara Inc.
Other product and company names herein are trademarks of their respective owners.