Making Faces

We have created a system for capturing both the three-dimensional geometry and color and shading information for human facial expressions. We use this data to reconstruct photorealistic, 3D animations of the captured expressions. The system uses a large set of sampling points on the face to accurately track the three dimensional deformations of the face. Simultaneously with the tracking of the geometric data, we capture multiple high resolution, registered video images of the face. These images are used to create a texture map sequence for a three dimensional polygonal face model which can then be rendered on standard 3D graphics hardware. The resulting facial animation is surprisingly life-like and looks very much like the original live performance. Separating the capture of the geometry from the texture images eliminates much of the variance in the image data due to motion, which increases compression ratios. Although the primary emphasis of our work is not compression we have investigated the use of a novel method to compress the geometric data based on principal components analysis. the texture sequence is compressed using an MPEG4 video codec. Animations reconstructed from 512x512 pixel textures look good at data rates as low as 240 Kbits per second.

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