Incredible morphable facial model (Part Deux)

A few months ago, I had posted a video on this very website about software developed that could analyze a single photograph or even a painting, and derive a 3D model from it. It has been the single greatest attractor of visitors to this website, totaling over 50,000 of the 108,000 or so hits this site has seen since I started tracking stats in February.

It seems that developer of this insanely cool software has kept busy. He has more recently developed software that (I can only assume) uses some of the same techniques as the original software but now, not only does it create the 3D model, it can also create incredibly realistic mouth movements. A lot of you may be thinking “What the hell? Why do I care?” Well, I want you to watch any computer animated movie or TV show and tell me what you think is the most un-realistic part of the animation. Sure, the hands could usually use some work, but the mouth movements are nearly almost terrible.

I’m no computer artist, so I can’t tell you how complex the process of animating speech or even just the act of smiling is, but judging by the work that I’ve seen over the past 10 years, it must not be easy. I mean, in a human face, there are hundreds of bones, muscles, tendons, and other stuff that all work in tandem to produce smiles or frowns, so when an animator has to recreate these emotions, they have to approximate. There’s no way they’re going to actually recreate every muscle, tendon, piece of flesh, and create real-life physics; it would just take way too long.

That’s where this software comes in. It’ll look at a single picture (it doesn’t even need to be a 3D model; it’ll generate that on its own) and allow you to select the movement with sliders for simple emotions like smiling or frowning, or with more complex scripting for speech. Even if the speech takes a bit longer to create than a single smile, it’s still amazingly impressive.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Third time’s a charm, right guys? Right?

As of 7:06PM MST yesterday evening, I officially became a Calgarian. Again. After 9 months of solid absence, I have made my faithful return to Cowtown in the hopes of finding health, wealth, and happiness. OK, health I can do without, and happiness is something that Hallmark invented in the 70’s after their lead designer (who coincidentally was a Nazi apologist) passed away, so I’ll take my chances with wealth. At the very least, I’ll take a job.

I really hate moving. No, I know a lot of people say that, but I honest-to-God despise the act of relocating. I know my history wouldn’t really agree with that statement but believe me, it’s true. The never-ending cycle of having to go through everything you own and decide if it’s worth keeping; the stress of making mental checklist after mental checklist of everything you need to take care of before, during, and after the move; the worry that you’re going to come across some dead animal hiding in the back of the dresser drawer you haven’t even though of since you moved in. It’s all bullshit and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Baker: I’m looking at you.

Continue reading Third time’s a charm, right guys? Right?

Prepare to feel completely insignificant

Our universe is huge. I mean, really huge. I want you think of the biggest thing you can come up with. Now multiply that by a billion. And now again by another billion. Even then, whatever you’re probably thinking of is taking up less than 0.00000000000000000001% of the space in the universe. Seriously, it’s that big.

To put it how tiny we are in comparison to some of the other larger known objects out there, someone made a quick minute-and-a-half long video that shows the size of a few of the planets in our solar system, and then gradually shows you bigger and bigger known objects. It starts out with Mercury, which is about half the diameter of Earth, and goes all the way up to VV Cephei, which is….well, watch the video and you’ll see.

I mentioned in the post about Black Out Band that you may want to kill yourself after hearing their music. I submit that there is no way God could exist, simply by reason that if he could show any mercy, they would spontaneously vaporize and we would never have to spend the rest of our lives in fear – fear of hearing them sing again. This video is sort of the same in that when it’s over you’ll probably want to kill yourself, but rather than it be out of fear, it will be for the fact that no matter how much effort you put into your 9-to-5 job, or how much “Good will towards men” you exhibit in your incredibly short life, you will never mean a goddamn thing.

Also, as you’re watching it, try and keep track of how much smaller the Earth is. For reference, the Earth is 12,756km in diameter. I’ve also included some fun facts after the video but to keep the suspense going, don’t read them until after you’ve seen the clip.

Fun Facts:

  • VV Cephei is a supergiant star, meaning that it is between 1600 and 1900 times the size of our own sun (you can see this in more detail by looking at the following picture – you may have to click the picture to show it to proper scale and/or you may have to scroll to the left to find the sun)
  • VV Cephei is so large that if it was in the center of our solar system, not only would our own planet’s orbit be inside of it, but so would Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn too
  • Every planetary body shown after the sun is a star (the darker orange, the “cooler”; the bluer/whiter, the hotter)
  • It would take a normal human being nearly thirty weeks (207 days) to walk around the Earth once; it would take the same person one hundred and sixty seven thousand, eight hundred and sixty-three years (61,270,000 days) to do the same on VV Cephei
  • Scientists believe that while it is the largest known star, there are more than likely thousands of others (or more) out there that have yet to be discovered that dwarf VV Cephei by many, many orders of magnitude

Do the mortgage payments that have been stressing you out lately seem so important now? Didn’t think so.