Getting faces across the uncanny valley is one of the loftier challenges facing modern day graphics folk, but they're slowly getting there. Shirking the age old tradition of using wrinkly old men in CG facial expression demos, Nvidia has opted instead for a middle-aged bald guy. Middle-aged guys with lots of feelings are usually to be avoided, but this is different. 'Digital Ira', according to Nvidia, "represents a big leap forward in capturing and rendering human facial expression in real time, and gives us a glimpse of the realism we can look forward to in our favorite game characters."
You can download a demo right now which lets you interact with Ira in three different lighting environments. You can also stare deeply into his eyes and wonder whether, one day, he will become sentient and replace you. Ira's expressions were captured on a light stage at the USC Institute for Creative Technology, without the use of face markers or makeup. Using the captured data with FaceWorks rendering tech, the data can then be manipulated in real time.
Download the demo at the Nvidia website .