NetherRealm did not hold back when creating the incredibly fluid experience found in the latest fighter, Injustice 2. Since the game's launch, it has been met with an overall positive reception and one of the praises for the latest title is how smooth the facial animations were. In a new video, the team behind Injustice 2 walk fans through exactly how they achieved this.
Part of the technology used when making the game included a brand new custom photogrammetry facial scanner that utilises 44 DSLR cameras with 50mm fixed lenses. That's a lot of camera power localised, and from gameplay footage - worth it.
Injustice 2's character art lead Brendan George spoke a little bit about the process while offering a small bit of insight at the painstaking process, "To create a single character, we capture 16 facial expressions. These 16 scans take two to three days to process on our workstations."
As far as the individual facial animations go, the in-depth scanning procedure took place in a room they called "Flesh Bits," which admittedly sounds a little threatening but is apparently totally cool. If you're like me and a hardcore Mortal Kombat fan, you'll know what I mean.
Andy Senesac, the senior technical artist for cinematics, touched a little bit on the mounted cameras used in their Chicago studio. In the, you know, the Flesh Bits room; "Each camera system comes equipped with a choice of three different 4mm, 5mm or wide-angled lenses that are used depending on the actor's head shape."
There were times when the team couldn't agree on whether or not they were pleased with the expressions when paired with certain voice-overs. Because of this, there was also a lot of manual animation done to make the visual experience more cohesive - especially so with Superman and Harley Quinn, "We are working with some of the most iconic, recognizable characters in history, so getting their final animation looking just right took a lot of love and tweaking," Senesac explained.
Overall, that hard work definitely paid off. The animations were fluid, the pairing was gorgeous and the game was universally seen as a success. Injustice 2 is currently out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and mobile devices.