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“Andy Serkis” Recites Shakespeare in Incredible Real-Time Motion Capture

You’d think by now we’d be so used to the incredible advancements in video games it would be nearly impossible to be truly blown away by any new developments. And yet Unreal Engine 4‘s latest technological breakthrough has left us stunned, because they rendered a hyper-realistic Andy Serkis performing a famous monologue from Macbeth in real time. Real. time. But even beyond that, it’s what they can do with that footage that looks like the future of gaming is already here.

We first saw this incredible footage on Twitter thanks to eSports commenter Alex Mendez. It features Serkis reciting MacBeth’s “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech with a wide range of facial expressions. The footage—which, again, was created in real time—is nothing short of amazing, both because of how close it captures the nuance of Serkis’ performance, and also because it avoids the dreaded “dead eye” trap of motion capture. This behind-the-scenes video explains how and why this is such a literal game-changer.

That’s what you call the “canny alley.”

According to Unreal Engine, this “breakthrough digital human performance” was made possible by combining their real-time rendering with “3Lateral’s Meta Human Framework volumetric capture, reconstruction and compression technology.”

“The volumetric data was generated by capturing a series of high-quality, HFR images of Andy Serkis from multiple angles under controlled lighting. 3Lateral’s process involved various capture scenarios, some focused on geometry, some on appearance and others on motion. All of these inputs were applied to generate a digital representation of Andy Serkis, and to extract universal facial semantics that represent muscular contractions that make the performance so lifelike.”

As moviegoers well know, seeing Andy Serkis’ actual face is not necessary for some of his best performances, which is why we’re even more excited by what this means for creating realistic looking video game characters of different species, like 3Lateral’s Osiris Black.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by new video game advancements, but it’s impossible not to be stunned by this one. Although we’re not shocked that it involved capturing a great Andy Serkis performance.

What do you make of this new technology? Render your thoughts in our comments section below.

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Featured Image: Unreal Engine

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