Capturing every last wrinkle and deformation of human skin is basically impossible for talented CG animators and sophisticated video capture systems alike. Those infinitely subtle ways the skin moves on a human face allows us to spot the differences between a real-life humans, and their CG counterpart—at least for now.
The team of researcher has come up with a new way to capture the tiny details on the surface of various skin patches on an actor’s face at a resolution of 10 microns as they’re being stretched and deformed by a specially-designed rig. At that resolution the exact deformations of even individual skin pores is captured, and using custom software, the captured data can be mapped to the artificial skin of a CG character, making the emotions of the face so realistic you can’t tell human from computer human.
Eventually the researchers hope to design a model that allows the system to perfectly simulate exactly how human skin deforms based on a person’s race, age, sex, and emotions, without requiring actors to be subjected to that face deforming contraption.