A recently-released iOS app from Epic Games allows developers to use the iPhone’s front-facing camera to record facial expressions that can be imported directly into the Unreal Engine.
The Live Link Face app, now available for download from the App Store, streams the facial animation data in real-time directly into characters in the Unreal Engine. Epic says it hopes the new app will make facial capture “easier and more accessible.”
The app makes use of two of Apple’s technologies, including the ARKit augmented reality platform and the TrueDepth camera that debuted alongside the iPhone X back in 2017. The same technology powers Apple’s Animoji and Memoji feature that allows users to map their facial expressions onto various cartoon avatars.
As noted by The Verge, Epic isn’t the first company to take advantage of Apple’s technology for use in a game. The Walking Dead augmented reality game from 2018 made use of the technology. However, the ability to import facial expressions in real-time into the Unreal Engine, which is used by millions of game developers, could represent a big leap, making it easier to use the technology in development.
Epic’s documentation for the feature (available here), shows how to set things up and use the app to create a character’s facial expressions. Epic says the app can be used in various situations, ranging from a developer’s home office to actors in motion capture suits with head-mounted rigs working on a sound stage.