Last October we released the Dynamic Heads & Facial Animation Preview Beta. Today we’re making some updates to this beta feature and releasing some new functionality to prepare for our full release of Dynamic Heads and Facial Animation later this year.
To use the features mentioned in this post, you will need to turn on the following two beta features in Studio:
- Facial Animation
- Automatic Skinning Transfer
The major change we’re making to the beta feature involves hiding the bone instances under the head MeshPart in the Data Model. Previously we’ve shown these bone instances, but moving forward they won’t be visible in any Dynamic Head asset.
We’re primarily making this change to simplify the Data Model and avoid any confusion around animating Dynamic Heads using the bones. All face animations should use FACS, which standardizes the animation of Dynamic Heads to a set of 50 controls regardless of the underlying bone count.
Below you can see that the Data Model has changed to hide the bone instances under the Head MeshPart.
Alongside this update, we’re releasing some fresh documentation, example files, and test scenes to help with creating, implementing, and animating Dynamic Heads!
Below is the full list of the documentation:
- Using Dynamic Heads in Studio
- Animating Dynamic Heads
- Creating a Basic Dynamic Head
- FACS Poses Reference
We’ve also updated the example scenes we released last year to reflect the changes in the assets we mentioned above. Here are the links to those place files:
To help with the creation of Face Animations, we’re excited to release the Face Animation Editor into beta! The Face Animation Editor provides an intuitive interface to animate Dynamic Heads using FACS within the existing Animation Clip Editor plugin. More information can be found here!
We have also released Automatic Skinning Transfer into Beta. This enables layered clothing accessories without built-in skinning to deform properly. By turning on the “Automatic Skinning Transfer” Beta Feature, you will see a new property under the WrapDeformer’s WrapLayer instances which allows the deformation of accessories based on the skinning information of the character it’s attached to. More information can be found here!
This release brings us one step closer to more immersive social communication and self-expression through Dynamic Heads and Facial Animation.
As a sneak peek, we’re working towards several upcoming releases that will expand the use of Dynamic Heads & Facial Animation:
- Full Release of Dynamic Heads and Facial Animation
- This will allow developers to integrate Dynamic Head assets in live experiences along with face animations for emotes and locomotions.
- Catalog Release of Dynamic Heads
- This release will add characters to the Avatar Shop that have Dynamic Heads and are capable of Facial Animation.
- Live Facial Animation
- This introduces the ability for players to drive the facial animation of their avatar using their live facial expressions through audio and video input.
As we move towards the above releases, players will begin entering your experiences with Dynamic Heads equipped. As such, we’d love for all of you to play around with this tech and ensure your experience is well equipped for this new functionality that will become available later this year.
We’re continuously working to develop these features and would love to hear any feedback, bug reports, or feature requests from all of you!
We have also opened a Beta program that will allow interested developers to integrate Dynamic Heads in a live experience ahead of the full public release as a way to provide us with feedback and suggestions. If this is something that you would like to participate in, please fill out this form!
We’re super excited to push this tech further and see what all of you create! Please try out this new feature and let us know if you have any questions, suggestions, or if you run into any issues.