Hollywood face capture comes straight to games

The Quarry's characters use special effects tech built for Avengers: Infinity War

(Image credit: Supermassive Games)

The Quarry, the latest cinematic horror game from Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games, makes use of the facial animation technology that created Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.

Special effects studio Digital Domain, which has worked on Marvel films and other Hollywood blockbusters for years, built a tool called Masquerade to take performances captured in head-mounted cameras and translate them into believable CG animated characters – and it was used to capture Josh Brolin’s likeness and performance for Thanos in Infinity War. The company announced its Masquerade 2.0 tech in 2020, adapting the feature film technology for broader applications, like the game characters in The Quarry.

As The Washington Post (opens in new tab) explains, Digital Domain created facial scans for each of The Quarry’s cast members, then filmed the actors in full performance capture suits each day, mapping their body movements and facial expressions to animation rigs in Masquerade 2.0. After each day’s performance capture, the data was uploaded to Supermassive for review in The Quarry’s engine.

Those performance capture sessions lasted for 42 days, creating over 32 hours of captured footage. 4,500 shots were brought to the game, of which Digital Domain claims only 27 had to be retouched by the game’s animators.

The tech clearly paid off. Our review of The Quarry notes that its performances are one of its strongest aspects, and what’s a horror story if you don’t care who lives and dies?

From Silent Hill to Resident Evil Village, you can get yourself scared half to death with our list of the best horror games you can play right now.

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