Is There A Skills Shortage In The Games & Animation Industry?

clock October 22, 2016 08:30 by author EliciaT

 

Think back to video games and animated movies from 5 or 10 years ago. If you take a look at the computer graphics quality of the 2003 Finding Nemo and compare it to the 2016 Finding Dory, the difference is astonishing. The same can be said for almost every film or video game series when compared to its predecessors. How has the 3D animation quality of films and games evolved so much in the span of a few years? Technology and innovative creators are revolutionizing the industry.

The requirements for a professional animator today are increasingly technical. According to a UK study, software and programming are two of the top skills needed in gaming, animation and visual effects. In fact, over half of the jobs in gaming look for coding and developing skills.

Software skills alone are a requirement for over 64 percent of positions in the animation industry and 31 percent in the video game industry.

Filling these open positions with talented workers with the right technical skills has been a difficult challenge for some. According to the same survey, 47 percent of gaming and animation employers state that finding qualified applicants with the tech skills to fill these roles has been a major hurdle.

Global Animation Outlook

From a global perspective, the skills shortage isn’t as great now as it was last year, but there's still a significant demand. In a LinkedIn report of the top skills that employers are looking for in 2016, game development went from 24 to 29 and computer graphics and animation dropped 20 slots from 17 to 37. It is also important to note that 8 of the top 10 skills were technical.

The need for professionals in the video game and film industries to have digital skills is greater than ever, because cutting-edge technology is in high demand. Creating a full length animated film or a video game often takes years at the biggest studios. Industry leaders are searching for ways to create beautiful productions more efficiently and thanks to technology it’s possible.

For instance, 3D printing has accelerated the modeling process in stop-motion. Facial animation has been one of the most challenging aspects for animators. But, software like NaturalFront’s Facial Animation Software uses advanced algorithms to make realistic and accurate facial animations. Facial models are generated in minutes by using photos of real human faces, which makes the process more efficient and lifelike. Once a facial model is created, it will have realistic animation built-in.

The game and animation industries are increasingly reliant on computer technology. As technologies evolve, studios will be on the lookout for tech savvy, creative professionals that not only keep up but innovate.



4 Steps To Turn Your Animation Hobby Into A Profession

clock October 17, 2016 14:08 by author EliciaT

 

 

Animation is a lot of work. It can take a week to create as little as 10 seconds of footage. This is why full-feature films can take 5 to 10 years to make, and why you should think seriously before embarking on an animation career.

However, if you find that you are thinking about your animation hobby and creating traditional or 3D animations in your free time, you could have the chops to turn it into a profession.

1. Test the waters.

You aren’t going to learn how to animate by simply reading a book, you have to test it out for yourself with your hands and learn interactively. You don’t have to go to college to become an animator. Sure, it can provide some valuable insights and help you make connections in the art world and entertainment industry. But, there are tons of resources and tutorials online that are free or low-cost and can help you learn animation techniques and software.

Experiment with some 3D computer animation software like Maya, Unity and 3ds Max, which are commonly used by professional animators. Also, test out tools like NaturalFront’s Facial Animation Software that can accelerate parts of the animation process and help you overcome some of the most challenging aspects like facial animation.

2. Have a focus.

Many professional studios have a team of creators that work in a pipeline to create the final product. One person or team may focus solely on lighting, another on character design and another on animation. You should have a few areas in which you are extremely skilled, but you have to be well-rounded. Make it a point to learn all the areas that go into an animation, but be fantastic in at least one or two of them.

3. Set up your portfolio.

If you really have the skills and guts to be a professional animator, you need to market yourself. One of the most basic ways to market yourself as an animator is to showcase your portfolio and animation reel. Share your portfolio and reel on your website, blog and creative sites like Behance. Remember, when creating your reel, think short and sweet. Highlight your strongest skills, not all your work, and do it in less than 30 seconds. The first few seconds are critical to capture a viewer’s attention.

4. Establish credibility.

There is incredible competition in animation. You need to set yourself apart and establish credibility, especially if you haven’t gone to an accredited school or earned a degree in the field. The growing freelance economy and websites like Upwork and Fiverr are making it easier than ever to land jobs and side projects.

You can also establish credibility as a serious animator by entering animation contests and film festivals. Grow your network by going to industry events and joining groups with people that are also interested in animation.

If you are thinking about turning your animation hobby into a profession, you don’t necessarily have to put all your eggs into one basket and quit your day job. However, you need to dedicate enough time to develop the skills to consistently create innovative and high-quality animations.



Are Realistic Computer Animations No Longer Impressive?

clock September 26, 2016 09:47 by author EliciaT

 

When early attempts at realistic 3D animation like the 2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the 2005 Polar Express, and the Grand Theft Auto and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider series were produced, critics, audiences and gamers were either amazed at their advanced graphics and realism or creeped out because at moments, they fell into the uncanny valley. Now, over 15 years have passed since the earliest renderings of realistic animations were created for full-length films.

Realistic animation has evolved well past the days of the Final Fantasy films and Grand Theft Auto games from years ago. Now, the bar for realistic animation is set extremely high, because there are more developed techniques and technology available. Still, some animators avoid hyper-realistic computer animations, because they fear the uncanny valley. Others may think  that since realistic animations have been around for over a decade, it’s not that impressive. So, we asked the question: Are realistic animations no longer impressive?

Animation technology is still evolving.

Some may say that generating a realistic-looking 3D model probably isn’t that amazing anymore, because the technology to do that action has been around and used for a while. However, technology is rapidly advancing and creating animations that wouldn’t have been possible 10 or 5 years ago.

Also, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to facial animation. It’s one area that animators have struggled with for years, and it’s the pain point that NaturalFront software is tackling with advanced capabilities, algorithms and technology.

There’s a constant need for innovation.

The fact is that people have a short attention span and get bored easily. We are constantly looking for the next big thing. However, that isn’t to say that well-done computer animations are no longer impressive.

It means that you can’t rely on the same old, techniques and technology alone to impress people. (This is unless you are utilizing new, innovative technologies that revolutionize some aspect of old ones.) Like any art or entertainment form, you need to create something that is unique, thought-provoking and that resonates with your audience to differentiate yourself from other creators.

Game and film animation are different.

It’s also important to note that game animation and film animation are two different areas, that often require unique considerations and have different audiences. For example, games are interactive, which means that characters and animations need to look and animate smoothly from every angle.

When it comes to realistic computer animation, although it is important part of the film creation process, it is more prominent in the game industry. This is likely because game animation is about immersing the player into their own game world, and realism increases that feeling of being a part of the game.

Realistic animation is not dying out anytime soon. If anything, it’s flourishing as the desire to push the limits of art and technology grows. But, the key is to keep pushing the envelope and innovating computer animation technology and techniques, so that they will continue to amaze.





Top 10 Video Games of All Time

clock September 19, 2016 14:16 by author EliciaT

Ranking the best video games of all time is incredibly difficult. To some, it doesn’t feel like the video game industry began that long ago. There has been some debate as to when the first video game was created. But, many argue that the first record of a video game was in 1958, when an American physicist named William Higinbotham created Tennis for Two. Of course, it wasn’t until the Pacman and Asteroid games of the 70s and 80s that video games, as we traditionally think of them, took off.

In that timespan, there have been some amazing and groundbreaking video games developed that deserve recognition. In this blog, we are ranking the top video games (only one from a franchise) of all time, based on several factors, such as: story, animation, characters and gamer popularity.

10. World of Warcraft

 

The multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft may be considered dated compared to games like Skyrim. However, it wasn’t the world’s most popular MMORPG game for no reason. Its creative use of questing and resting or player pauses, may have set the tone for future role-playing game successes.

9. BioShock

 

BioShock is a solid video game series. However, when it comes to which game is the best, we vote for the original BioShock. This is because of the creators’ strategic and artistic use of a detailed and dark atmosphere to help tell the intriguing story.

8. Halo: Reach

Choosing the best from the first-person shooter game franchise Halo, is a toss up. But, because of its adrenaline-inducing, finite time to save a planet and advanced multiplayer capabilities, Halo: Reach wins it. It also has more detailed graphics and scenes that make you feel more like part of the doomed planet.

7. Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 is a little over 20 years old, but it is still one of the best games to date. Of course the graphics aren’t much, compared to today’s standards. At the time, they had an unusual artistic 3D quality. The game had solid player capabilities and challenges, fun Easter eggs, and intuitive controls.

6. Final Fantasy X

 

Final Fantasy is another amazing video game franchise that has a string of successful titles. With so many to choose from, it is hard to select just one for this list. However, Final Fantasy X is on here for two main reasons: the cinematic storytelling and quality character design.

5. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Instead of giving gamers whatever features and customization that they want, Call of Duty 4 used constraints to enhance the overall game experience. The designers really stuck to the idea of submerging the player into the game world by using realistic body and facial animations and gritty, detailed settings.

4. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 is one of those games that has graphics, animation and a story so well-crafted that it gives you chills. Over 10 years old, it still holds up to the test of time with unique camera angles, and eerie, isolated village environments that make you genuinely feel like you are alone and fighting vicious zombies in a life-and-death battle.

3. Portal 2

 

When it feels like a ton of video games follow the same or similar model, Portal 2 is a breath of fresh air. It’s imaginative storyline that touches on artificial intelligence and its unique environment are what makes it a truly great game. There are not targets or enemies that you need to kill, but instead puzzles. Those features, combined with its solid graphics and animation make it one of the top.

2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

There are few video games that can live up to Zelda. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game to feature 3D graphics and it was even listed as a Guinness record highest rated game. The music and story, which intertwines time travel, a love story and a hero’s journey are a few other reasons that you could go on all day about its greatness.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

 

Skyrim, the role-playing game by Bethesda has great game design, plot devices, character features and animation but most importantly, it has a unique quality that not only makes players enjoy it the first time but the thousandth time that they play. This is probably because of it's seamlessly never-ending challenges and player mods. Mods can result in funny and breathtaking scenes within the game.

What video games would be on your top 10 list?



The Uncanny Valley: What It Is and How to Avoid It In Your Animation

clock September 8, 2016 21:29 by author EliciaT

 

If you are a gamer, professional animator or animation enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the “uncanny valley”━and also, that you should avoid it at all costs. To designers and animators everywhere, the uncanny valley is something that you never want to see in your work.

What is the Uncanny Valley?

Today the term is common lingo in the art and animation industries, but it started out in a different field. The coin was termed in 1970 by Masahiro Mori, a Japanese robotics professor who studied how humans react to non-human beings.

He found that when we are exposed to increasing depictions of realism the amount of emotion or connection we feel for the non-human depiction increases. However, once the level of realism crosses a certain point, where the inanimate object becomes almost too real, we are repulsed.

The chart of the below response shows that when inanimate objects look not quite realistic, our emotional connection to them immediately drops off. Instead of these inanimate creations being perceived as life-like or realistic, they are as dead as a corpse. Furthermore, when these corpse creations are animated to move, it starts to look more like a scene from Night of The Living Dead or Resident Evil. Unless you are creating a zombie animated film or game, you don’t want your characters falling into this realm.

 

(image source: Smurrayinchester)

Why the Uncanny Valley Can Ruin Your Animations

The problem with the Uncanny Valley in animation is not that a creation is too realistic. It is that it is almost but not quite realistic. Something is off in the way a 3D model is constructed or animated that makes it creepy and off-putting to viewers. Some highly anticipated animated films like The Polar Express and Beowulf bombed at the box office and were harshly criticized because they made this fatal animation mistake.

How to Avoid the Uncanny Valley

The key in beating the Uncanny Valley is in quality modeling and animation, but also in expressive facial animations. Usually, it is in the facial expressions of computer-generated characters that the flaw becomes the most noticeable.

Don’t give the dead eye.

The phrase, “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” is more accurate than you may think. For example, psychologists and researchers have conducted several experiments that show that eye shape, movement and even pupil dilation can express a person’s emotional state. For instance, your eyes are different when you give a fake smile out of politeness than when you genuinely smile at something that you find enjoyable or funny. When animating, pay close attention to your characters’ eyes. 

Get rid of inconsistency.

The Uncanny Valley is fundamentally caused by a series of inconsistencies. For example: 

  • Inconsistency of realistic modeling and creepy animation;
  • Inconsistency of the animation of one part of the face and another;
  • Inconsistency of the 3D face animation and the expressions of our own faces.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an animation software that could eliminate these inconsistencies? This is where NaturalFront 3D face animation software can help. It creates 3D models directly from one or more photos of a real person, and realistically simulates the movement of complex facial muscles to create believable expressions ranging from sweet smiles to bitter anger. Furthermore, the software is extremely easy to use, with nearly zero learning curve.    

Lip-sync carefully.

When audio doesn’t perfectly match with an animated character it throws us off. When that animated character is also creepily realistic, it increases our repulsion even further. Lip-syncing is one of the more difficult animation tasks, but with the help of tools like NaturalFront’s 1-Click Animation, animators can upload audio to their creations and perfectly sync it to mouth movements.

Facial animations should reflect actual expressions.

One of the huge reasons why animations fall into the ugly uncanny valley is their not-quite human facial expressions. In animation, you can either be cartoonish or overly expressive or produce expressions that are so realistic and relatable that they stir emotion in viewers. Mediocre or almost there facial expressions will land you in the valley.

However, seasoned animators know that creating believable facial animations is easier said than done. Researchers have mapped more than 3,000 facial expressions that humans are capable of conveying. But professional animators may model millions of possible facial expressions for their characters. Doing all of that in a small team or on your own is nearly impossible for most. That is why NaturalFront also aims to make facial animation easier by generating a wide range of believable expressions in a matter of seconds with its Facial Animation Software and Unity Plugins.

The magic of animation is that it can allow us to create and do things that either wouldn’t be possible or poignant if done in live-action. Creating realistic animations can stir up emotional connections to a point, but it is important to know where that limit is and how to avoid crashing into it.






Kubo and The Two Strings: How the Film Combined Origami, Digital Animation & Stop-Motion

clock September 5, 2016 11:14 by author EliciaT

 

In recent years, it seems that stop-motion animation in the traditional sense has died off. Today, computer animation technology can do everything that traditional stop-motion creators can, and many times it can do it better, faster and at a significantly lower cost and reduced production timeline.

However, the new stop-motion animated film Kubo and the Two Strings is proving that the two forms of animation don’t need to be pitted against each other. In fact, beautiful and amazing animation feats can be accomplished when creators combine the best of the two techniques.

The film unfolds around the story of Kubo, a young Japanese boy who tells captivating stories with his magical guitar that brings the characters to life in origami form. (It’s also an ode to what animators do everyday as a profession.)

Instead of pitting traditional animation against computer animation, Travis Knight, the film’s director and CEO of Laika Entertainment━the animation studio behind Kubo and The Two Strings as well as Coraline, Boxtrolls and ParaNorman━took the “if you can’t beat them join them” approach.

Background characters were created with digital animation technology.

Building characters for stop-motion is an incredibly laborious challenge. One character could have hundreds of identical models produced. Now, 3D printing and digital technology can help simplify and accelerate the process.

For example, in the animated film scenes where there were many villagers, the team would model a select few as physical puppets in the same style as Kubo. However, in order to save time and minimize costs on creating hundreds of puppets, computer animation technology was used to create background villagers that blended seamlessly into the rest of the crowd.

They 3D modeled thousands of facial expressions.

Creating expressive facial animations, especially when it comes to paper origami style characters may seem practically impossible. But, the film pulled it off. Although the creators of the Samurai-inspired film built most main characters by hand using traditional techniques, they used digital animation tech and 3D printers to produce many of the facial parts.

Each individual character in stop-motion can have thousands of eyes, mouths, eyebrow and other pieces produced in order to animate them and create fluid facial animations. Before, it would take whole teams and years to produce all the necessary parts required to animate a stop-motion character. To overcome this challenge, but still preserve the traditional stop-motion look, the animators modeled the parts digitally and used 3D printers to manufacture them.

In a report by FXGuide, creators behind the impressive stop-motion film said that,

“The Kubo character has 11,007 unique mouth expressions and 4,429 brow expressions, allowing for over 48 million possible facial expressions.”

Imagine how much time and how many people it would have taken to create that amount without the help of digital technology?







Are Female Faces Really Harder to Animate?

clock August 30, 2016 11:19 by author EliciaT

 

Some of the most experienced and renowned animators in the industry struggle with facial animation. A few were publicly criticized after they made statements claiming that animating facial expressions for female characters is more difficult than male characters.

Right before Frozen was released in 2013, Disney animator Lino DiSalvo sparked controversy after stating that, "Historically speaking, animating female characters is really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty."

Even Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio caused some to stir in their seats at the E3 Conference when he said that women weren’t in the Assassin’s Creed: Unity because, “It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets.”

Structurally, women and men have the same types of muscles, bones and anatomical layout responsible for creating facial expressions. So, from a technical perspective, are women really harder to animate?

There are thousands of facial movements.

First, facial animations have traditionally been one of the hardest parts of animating, regardless of gender. This is because humans have thousands of facial expressions and a slight movement can alter their entire meaning. In fact, University of California researchers once mapped over 3,000 facial expressions, but that doesn’t represent the full scope of possibilities.

The vast range of expressions is part of the reason why facial animation has traditionally been a challenging process. But, in reality, female facial expressions aren’t harder to animate than men.

Facial animation tech and processes are evolving.

For many animators, animating facial expressions on both male and female 3D models is an equally intricate and complex challenge. But, thanks to advances in animation technology, 3D animators have more options for accelerating and improving the process. If animators use the right tools and processes to animate their characters, facial animation is relatively simple.

NaturalFront’s Facial Animation software drastically simplifies traditional animation processes and produces life-like facial expressions. In minutes, hobbyists and professional 3D animators can create female and male character models and animate them in a few mouse clicks. Because NaturalFront technology uses photos of real people to generate high-quality 3D facial models in seconds, the animations are virtually limitless and incredibly life-like.

The core innovation of NaturalFront software is its outstanding ability to very efficiently simulate the complex movement of different muscles, as well as their interactions. As we know, women and men have the same types of muscles that produce expressions. Thus, what has been unimaginable is now unavoidable – you can animate female faces as easily, fast and realistically just as male faces, by using NaturalFront software.     

Instead of guessing how to rig, morph or manipulate your 3D model to make the expressions that you want, you can choose from a wide library of facial animations. You can also customize and tweak animations to be as subtle, pretty, ugly, exaggerated or as human as you want. But, because you start with an anatomically representative 3D model, the hard labor and guesswork that used to go into creating facial animations disappears. Instead, you can easily and efficiently create animations that are more diverse, human and realistic, regardless of gender.

Would your mum be more difficult to smile to you than your dad?

 



What’s New in the Updated Complete Unity Face Animation Plugin?

clock July 29, 2016 13:32 by author EliciaT

NaturalFront is excited to announce an updated version of the 3D Face Animation Plugin Complete on the Unity Asset Store. With the facial animation plugin, 3D animators and hobbyists can create and animate life-like models in seconds and at little cost. With the updated version, animators can produce professional-quality, realistic animations even when they are short on time, budget and training. What features have been added to the new version to make the animation process even easier than before?

In previous versions, users can create as many models as they want by uploading a photo of a person’s head into the Unity software. After clicking on a few key points on the photo, the plugin will generate a realistic, 3D facial model that is incredibly accurate and ready to animate.

Other benefits include:

  • Synchronized lip movement to audio- Say goodbye to spending hours struggling to match up mouth movements to audio files. The plugin takes the hard work and guessing out of lip syncing through its 1-Click Animation feature.

  • 1-Click Animation - The plugin has a vast range of facial expressions and mouth shapes already built-in. So, you can skip the manual animation process of morphing and spend almost zero time by selecting from the expressions and mouth shapes available. In addition, you can blend the expressions and mouth shapes together, thus generating literally unlimited number of facial poses, in a few clicks of your mouse.

Users can still look forward to all of those benefits in the updated complete version, but they can now also add a few more to the list.  

First, animators can save and reload their facial models and animations. Simply click File and Save when you want to hold on to an animation.

C:\Project\Work\PluginTests\Complete20\Test\Assets\NF3DFaceAnimationComplete20\documentation\13.png

When you want to reuse that animation, click File>Load>and Select the saved animation file.

C:\Project\Work\PluginTests\Complete20\Test\Assets\NF3DFaceAnimationComplete20\documentation\13_B.png

The plugin will reload the file and when you click Animate, it will generate the previously created animation. For optimal results, users should note:

  1. Only one 3D model can be reloaded at a time.

  2. If you want to reload multiple models to animate them in a scene at the same time, you can do so with other NaturalFront software.

  3. Models that you save and reload in the plugin can be used in other NaturalFront software.

  4. The current version only works with Windows operating systems.

Second, the new version is offered at an even lower price than before. Animators and hobbyists can take advantage of the 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin Complete at $100. Previous NaturalFront 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin Complete users can receive a voucher for a free upgrade to the latest version by contacting us by email here.





Two New Versions of NaturalFront 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin Available

clock June 19, 2016 21:39 by author EliciaT

 

NaturalFront has just released two, updated versions of the 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin. The updated versions fix reported bugs and issues, while also adding more features that make the facial animation process cost-effective, fast and simple for 3D animators.

Animators and hobbyists can choose from the two versions of the plugin: Basic and Complete. Each version vastly improves the animation process by creating 3D facial models in a matter of seconds. Instead of devoting hours to rigging, morphing, sculpting or key-framing to create and animate realistic facial models and expressions, users just need to upload a photo and the plugin does the work.

After uploading a headshot photo, users are prompted to select key points on the face. Then, the plugin creates a mesh with thousands of vertices for precise animations. It also comes with a diverse range of built-in facial expressions and mouth shapes, and works seamlessly with Unity 3D Editor. Both versions accelerate the animation process, but there are a few differences between them.

Unity Plugin Complete Version

The complete version is packed with valuable features that make facial animations easier, faster and more realistic. Here are some of the top capabilities to look forward to:

Lip Syncing

Lip syncing computer animated characters is one of the most difficult and labor-intensive tasks for 3D animators. The complete version of the NaturalFront Face Animation Unity Plugin fixes that and many other issues that animators face. When you upload audio tracks into Unity with the plugin, it can be synced in seconds with our patented 1-Click Animation technology.

1-Click Animation

A wide range of built-in facial expressions and movements are at users’ disposal with the complete version of the Unity plugin. Customizing mouth shapes and blending them together can be done within a few clicks of your mouse.

Professional Quality Facial Animations

Animators don’t need to spend thousands of hours or dollars to produce high-quality 3D models and animations. With the plugin, models are realistic and produce life-like facial expressions. Plus, there is no limit to the number of 3D characters that you can create.

Basic Version 1.1

Each version features NaturalFront’s unique 1-Click Animation ™.and makes the facial animation process fly by. The basic version is offered at a download price of $39 in the Unity store. Of course, it has some limitations in comparison to the complete version.

Primarily, the range of facial expressions and movements is limited. For professional animators or users that want a nearly unlimited number of facial movements at their disposal, the complete version is recommended.

If you are currently using previous versions of the Unity plugin, you can easily upgrade for between $5 and $115. For new users, the complete version costs $160.Each can save animators thousands of hours and funds that would otherwise be spent manually modeling and animating 3D models. Windows operating system is required for the download. To create and animate custom-built 3D heads quickly, you should have at least: 4-core i7/i5 CPU (or their equivalences) running at 3GHz, with 64-bit OS and 8GB RAM.

For more information on the new NaturalFront 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin complete and basic version, visit the Unity store.



NaturalFront Releases Free Unity Plugin On All Operating Systems

clock June 19, 2016 18:19 by author EliciaT

 

In February of this year, NaturalFront released a free version of the 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin. It hosted a number of features that made the facial animation process quicker, eliminating the need for rigging, morphing, key-framing and other costly techniques.

Now, NaturalFront has released the 2.0 free version of the plugin in the Unity store. After reviewing user feedback, we noticed a significant number of users requested that the plugin be made available on all operating systems and listened to those requests.

Before, the plugin was only compatible with Windows. With the 2.0 free version, users can test out the software on all operating systems, including: Windows, Mac and Linux. The free version has received high praise for its features and capabilities. Users can expect the same with the new plugin download.

What features come with the free plugin?

Using traditional computer animation techniques to configure facial models and animate them, takes animators weeks or longer. With NaturalFront’s 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin, realistic facial models can be created and animated in a matter of seconds.

Users just need to upload a headshot photo into the Unity software and mark specific points on the face to create a mesh. Then, a fully-functional 3D facial model is generated and already has a range of different animations built in. Also, since the plugin works seamlessly with Unity 3D Editor, you can start animating it right away.

The plugin not only makes animating a wide range of facial expressions fast and easy, but it improves the lip syncing process as well. Animators can download the audio track straight into Unity and the plugin will help match the lip movements to the audio file.

How can you get the NaturalFront Unity Plugin 2.0?

Downloading the free 2.0 version of NaturalFront’s Unity Plugin is easy. You can visit the Unity store and download the new version here. Users must have the Unity 5.3.5 version or higher to download. To create and animate custom-built 3D heads quickly, you should have at least: 4-core i7/i5 CPU (or their equivalences) running at 3GHz, with 64-bit OS and 8GB RAM.

If you have already downloaded the old version of the plugin, you can update your version to work with all operating systems. For a beginner’s tutorial on using the plugin, check out our video.



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