#1 By: Mark Frauenfelder, January 5th, 2014 21:46
#2 By: newliminted, January 5th, 2014 22:06
#3 By: Inquiry, January 5th, 2014 22:27
I'm ruined for any technology that requires me to use a webcam.
Our contemporary reality seems like the digital love child of Philip K Dick and Margaret Atwood entire catalogs.
It is like playing out "the Ceremony" with my Perky Pat and Connie Companion dolls.
#4 By: technogeek, January 5th, 2014 22:52
Interesting toy. I'm moderately willing to believe it. I don't know whether I actually have any use for it since I don't videochat, but if I can convince myself I believe them I might toss them a few bucks just to play with it.
#5 By: chellberty, January 5th, 2014 23:05
@BackToYouJim wait what? is that just because of the webcam because i know what you are talking about but i don't see the link between the pp layouts and webcams.
As for this kickstarter product. it sends my FRAUD FAKE alarm into motion. They need to show us some live action not some cute girl to beguile us enough to throw money at some vaporware.
Do not give money till they prove a few things.
Show some wireframes being overlayed over the human face and character emoting both LIVE.
Show us pictures of the developers and their credentials.
Note: I am in the field and IMHO the video looks like they rendered it in something like marmoset toolbag version 2 and they had the girl do the motions after the fact.
As a note there are pieces of software that does do this type of animation but it requires what is called a depth camera like the xbox 360 kinect.
#6 By: incarnedine_v, January 5th, 2014 23:10
True. Tech demos are the tool of the devil especially with this since all other proper software can't do this without some assistance like multi cameras or tracking markers.
I'm guessing it'll be like that talking cat app in the end. which just lip synchs based on sound.
#7 By: Bersl, January 5th, 2014 23:42
Via an announcement on their IndieGoGo page:
I will admit that this particular pitch, when I heard it two weeks ago, utterly defeated my skepticism, and I threw $50 their way within the hour, so I haven't really investigated at all. Shame on me, I suppose, if it goes wrong.
#8 By: Shuck, January 6th, 2014 00:55
But what's it actually doing? Because I see a woman making some highly exaggerated facial expressions and movements (even her eye movements seem quite exaggerated) that are being translated, imperfectly and without much nuance into movements on a model that doesn't even have a humanoid face (so you don't notice any lack of correspondence as much). The facial capture work I'm familiar with that uses either dots or multiple cameras is much more accurate and nuanced. This doesn't seem like that much of a leap beyond previous single-camera facial capture systems to me.
#9 By: Logolepsy, January 6th, 2014 01:00
They have a video that shows both the screen and the girl at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=kk9tjwYYaUU#t=74&hd=1
#10 By: digitalArtform, January 6th, 2014 01:08
I normally don't like metal but I'll kick in to fund them finishing that song.
#11 By: technogeek, January 6th, 2014 01:11
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
A bit of suspicion isn't unreasonable. On the other hand, given the improvements in extracting/recognizing faces in photos in recent years (such as the annoying/intrusive version Facebook runs on posted photos), and given modern computing power (remember, it wasn't long ago that the kind of animation we now take for granted in games would have run in much less than realtime even with a large compute farm), I don't actively disbelieve what they're showing. I'm not sure I'm contributing either, especially since it sounds like their goal is to keep even the final product fairly cheap.
(I'm not in the graphics field; I am in the computing field.)
#12 By: technogeek, January 6th, 2014 01:14
I don't think it's intended to be a technology leap. It just seems to be an attempt to create a low-cost product using that technology, operating on the "give away the razor, sell blades" marketing principle. (That is, make the animation engine cheap for personal use, draw profit from the characters and customizations and toolkit and commercial licenses.)
#13 By: redesigned, January 6th, 2014 01:22
@technogeekagain, @Shuck, @incarnedine_v, @chellberty, @Logolepsy, @bersl2:
Since the software isn't yet developed, then likely the demo is concept art depicting how they envision it would look work. I doubt they are already at a "working demo" phase. More then likely, they had the girl do some exaggerated facial movements and acting following a script, and then they rendered and edited the video to the same timeline, matching things up. Obviously this is what they are shooting for in the final product, but it isn't developed yet so likely it isn't already at the phase depicted by the video or they wouldn't be crowdfunding the development to create it, they'd be kickstarting the marketing to sell a product that was already mostly working. At least that is my take as a developer.
More importantly, I cannot find anywhere what platforms this runs on? Mac? PC? Consoles?
Nor can I find any specs. If this thing is intercepting webcam video and emulating a webcam, like it would have to do in order to be used as the webcam output for any third party app, then these details would already likely be established. I'm guessing from the total lack of valid information that this is still in the vapourware phase of development.
#14 By: technogeek, January 6th, 2014 01:52
Someone could post a question via the Kickstarter and ask them to clarify how much they do or don't already have working.
And/or: The "partner" company they cite, which is providing the face tracking portion (which seems to be the more difficult aspect given that games already demonstrate this kind of animation) claims to have developer/demo/trial kits. If someone can justify requesting one, that would provide some insight into what information they'd have available and how well it works.
I'd note that Kickstarters are often "vaporware" -- that's what the site was set up for, really, to get starter funding -- so you really do have to make a judgement call. Some kickstarters I've given money to have succeeded wonderfully, some are still outstanding (the animated film of The Price still has no estimated completion date but seems to be making decent progress judging from what we're being told/shown), one succeeded but I haven't been able to coordinate with the artist to collect the item I'm entitled to as donor, one failed and refunded...
Basically, I agree that this is buyer-beware. You need to decide whether you're convinced enough to risk your cash. But I'm not seeing anything that screams fraud to me. Overambitious maybe. Question is whether it's worth giving 'em a bit of a push toward finding out, or waiting and seeing what happens.
I honestly don't have a strong opinion, and I don't quite care enough to research more deeply... but if someone else does so that'd be great.
#15 By: Mister44, January 6th, 2014 02:10
That sound you heard was all the furries and hentai fans climaxing at once.
#16 By: euansmith, January 6th, 2014 06:41
This reminds me of the cosmetic face software in one of William Gibson's books.
#17 By: Abdul Alhazred, January 6th, 2014 07:47
Never mind the cutesy-poo avatars. That "space commander" looks plausibly human. This software could be used for serious impersonation.
#18 By: technogeek, January 6th, 2014 08:38
True of anything which facilitates acting. Tools are tools; anything can be abused.
#19 By: technogeek, January 6th, 2014 08:45
Also, some of those questions are answered in the FAQ at the bottom of the page. Eg, "We are starting on Windows PC, then iOS, Android, Mac and depending on our Technology partners also Linux."
#20 By: WearySky, January 6th, 2014 09:06
Well, if we're going by the quality of that, we've got a ways to go yet. I posted a picture to Facebook the other day showing how crazy the line was was at CostCo - there were easily 5 recognizable faces in that photo, but none of them were picked up. However, Facebook WAS asking me to tag the 2 "faces" it found in the rafters of the CostCo warehouse.
next page →