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Blue Dot

September 2023

At 3Lateral, we consistently innovate to make computer-generated characters convincing and thus central to the immersive narrative. 'Blue Dot', our recently produced animated short, serves as a showcase for bespoke MetaHumans. This film, powered by Epic’s MetaHuman Animator, demonstrates a leap forward in animating digital characters, allowing the creation of high-fidelity facial animations within minutes, from footage captured using a stereo head-mounted camera or even just an iPhone.

As a result of a collaboration with talented local artists and filmmakers, we have produced 'Blue Dot', which was all rendered in Unreal Engine featuring a digital Radivoje Bukvic, a renowned actor from Serbia, in the spotlight. Radivoje’s gesticulation was captured with 3Lateral’s proprietary 4D scanning technology and this data was used to calibrate a MetaHuman via 3Lateral’s processing pipeline to upgrade the underlying facial rig deformations and resemble the actor's likeness closer. The results were enlightening, drastically cutting the need for months-long post-production and animation polishing while retaining unprecedented detail and emotional nuances.

Director of Photography Ivan Šijak drew heavily on his traditional filmmaking experience throughout the process, and remarkably, it meshed seamlessly into a runtime-powered virtual production workflow. The integration was fluid, allowing Ivan to adjust the lighting throughout the production and to convey the movie-like camera and its interaction with the talent.

You cannot distinguish the quality of the output done through this technology or shot on set with a real camera, says Šijak. The camera work and the performance of the actor and everything that gets the audience involved in the shot, it's there. Nothing's lost.

The “Blue Dot” illustrates the efficiency and precision that MetaHuman Animator introduces while empowering a flexible workflow that stimulates creativity among artists, animators, and actors. Importantly, MetaHuman Animator is compatible with an iPhone, a consumer hardware device, which ensures that it is accessible not only to large productions but also supports the democratization of high-quality facial animation among smaller productions.

MetaHuman Animator represents a significant milestone in our mission to deliver photorealistic digital humans. It simplifies the complexity of capturing human emotions to produce facial animation and leads us into the next era of storytelling. At 3Lateral, we are excited about the transformative impact this will have on game development, filmmaking and beyond.


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Epic Games | 3Lateral