Robert Gehorsam, CEO of Image Metrics, and his team are working on making face animation a quick and easy process, available to even the most casual technology user.

“Animation is done still by hand or its done by a process called motion capture…it’s very tedious, its very slow and its not real time. Image Metrics figured how to do this directly from video, and that’s basically what we do,” explained Gehorsam.

The company’s recent program, Portable You, allows users to instantly animate their own face from a video or photo that they can take on their phone.

“If you know how to take a picture, you know how to use the product,” said Gehorsam.

Allowing users to make a real time avatar of themselves will change the way people use the Internet, according to Gehorsam. He expects his technology to infiltrate online gaming, social media outlets and video chatting.

“A large part of what goes on in online entertainment is immersion, believing you are in it,” said Gehorsam. He described it as a “look ma, no hands” feeling.

With Portable You, users can transport their avatar to any compatible program via their cell phone, iPad, home computer or any device with the Internet and a photo of the person on it.

“Portability is a key feature,” Gehorsam said.

Instant avatars also allow personal branding on a more advanced level. While the person is busy at a meeting or an event, his or her avatar can continue branding on the virtual level.

Image Metrics has been involved with animation in major motion pictures such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and many video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Assassins Creed.

The company strives to make animated characters as real as possible without being “creepy.”

“There’s a concept in animation called the uncanny valley. As you get closer and closer to being realistic it creates a creepy effect,” according to Gehorsam.

Image Metrics has bridged this gap, however, with something called the Emily O’Brien Project.

The Emily O’Brien Project is a series of YouTube videos that features a woman who is animated from the neck up. The animation, however, is not detectable.

Gehorsam said that virtually nobody can detect the animation, yet Emily is not a real person, and not at all creepy.

Image Metrics continues to revolutionize animation and has some projects on the horizon. Although Gehorsam could not identify the projects just yet, he said it’s an “exciting time” for the company.

Look out for their future work, or maybe you’re looking at it everyday and just can’t tell.

About The Author

Brittney McNamara is a Blast Junior Editor

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