Play as yourself on the Playstation 3?
Motion Portrait is a new technology developed by Sony. Currently implemented as software on a PC, it allows a persons’ image to be automatically converted into a 3D model. The software is then able to manipulate the 3D model to convey emotions, perform movement and add accessories.
A report about the amazing “Motion Portrait” software appeared on Japanese TV station TV Tokyo. The report triggered massive speculation amongst Japanese gamers, wondering whether the Playstation 3 will come equipped with the new software.
While the report has no direct connection to the PS3, it did not stop the rumors from arising. In Japan, forum debates followed the broadcast with many gamers hoping they will be able to scan their own images or use the future version of Sony’s Eye Toy camera to transfer their likeness onto the upcoming console and use their own image in Playstation 3 games.
The full capabilities of the technology were demonstrated by a Senior Manager from the Kilhara Sony Research Centre, who raised the possibility that the technology could be used in gaming.
The Senior Manager said that he hoped when the software was implemented with gaming, the main characters features could be substituted for the players’ own – a statement which would have done nothing to stop the imaginations of the viewers from running wild.
“Motion Portrait” works by scanning an emotionless photo on to a computer and then assigning any number of 16 different emotions to the image.
The software runs at 30 frames per second and is not limited to human faces. The television program showed a number of examples including animation and even a pineapple being manipulated to talk, eat and wear glasses.
Toshiba and Sony, the co-developers of PS3′s Cell chip have previously displayed a “digital mirror” that was similarly able to digitize human faces, albeit in realtime.
The still photo version, amazingly able to use 2D images to create 3D models, is quite likely to become available as a standard feature in future PS3 games.
Link: tv-tokyo.co.jp (Real Player Movie)
By Blake Hurley and Takatoshi Yokoo, PS3focus.com staff writers
Editor’s note: Hmm, as amazing as this is, isn’t that old news? [Takatoshi, where did you find this? Ed.]
The date of this entry on the Japanese TV Tokyo web site seems to indicate that this report was shown on 26 of August last year. In comparison, the real-time Cell-based “digital mirror” was shown in October!
Maybe this “Motion Portrait” was really the predecessor to the “Digital Mirror”?
Be that as it may, it is still very cool. The amazing thing to me is that the software is able to create quite life-like and believable facial expressions. This represents a new milestone – being able to extrapolate facial features and animate them, based on a 2D image!
There is no doubt in my mind that the PS3 will come, perhaps even standard, with a Eye Toy like contraption. Since Sony seems to have well mastered all these technical feats, it is to be expected that with the Playstation 3, we’ll be able to play as ourselves.
One effect of playing truly as yourself may be that we’ll experience a hitherto unseen emotional involvement with the on-screen character. We may well end up caring much more about whether the hero gets beaten up or shot to death by the bad guys.
If Sony really comes through with their online plans for the PS3, then expect multiplayer shooters where you can actually see the real people that you’re fighting against! Real faces, clothing, body shape and all…
Harrrr… I can tell already… online gaming may never be the same again.
By Markus Weichselbaum, Editor-in-Chief