Supernatural has done an amazing job at special effects that don’t tread into the cheesy. Recently, series creator Eric Kripke stated that they learned their lesson in Wendigo. Anyone who’s seen The Six Million Dollar Man [in 2008, that's Bill Gate's lunch money] fight Bigfoot, or had to sit through a Power Rangers battle against a big rubber villain, knows that good special effects are no easy feat.
Even more challenging is the animation of realistic human faces. It’s a cliché in the CGI world that the more realistic human animation becomes, the less convincing it becomes. Supernatural, whose real charm is its human story uses makeup, and the largely unseen to do its evil bidding. Buffy and Angel of the also-very-human Whedonverse, relied heavily on a crack staff of makeup artists, as well. What if, though, they could create a world of evil, humanoid beasties that pushed the edge but didn’t cost an arm and a leg? What if a human actor could work the magic in front of a video camera, with no sensors pasted on the face, and have the computer generate a realistic demon, bigfoot, or wendigo?
Image-Metrics seems to have an answer to that question. It may be some time before the really good stuff becomes available –2020?- but its use in television and film, and, even more, in video games, could make for some incredible results!
Check out this demo of “Emily”. At the end, you’ll see the real actress, but the rest is all computer generated.
Would this be useful technology for shows like Supernatural? Leave your comments, and let’s hear what you think!