Digital Humans in Indian Cinema
Updated: Nov 7
Traditionally in India, digital humans have only been used for face replacement. An entire digital human acting in a live-action movie has never been achieved except for close digitization in Endhiran and Ra-One. With the current Covid-19 predicament, social distancing has only forced us to make way for innovation in the entertainment industry. One of these innovations includes Real-time digital humans in Filmmaking. India has begun adopting this technology due to the necessity and the convenience and efficiency it brings along with it. Technically put, real-time digital humans are the photoreal and accurate 3D presentations of personalities, appearance, and performance; in simple words, a digital recreation of oneself. Digital humans change not just moviemaking but also games, campaigns, and other storylines with 3D implementation solving a time constraint problem these industries have faced for years.
Digital humans at Viga Entertainment
At Viga, we create real-time digital humans using the Unreal engine metahuman pipeline as it is fast, accurate, and easily scalable, making it a dream workflow for any director. It improves efficiency and allows speed and iteration for directors to make changes in real-time for characters instead of waiting on hours in the end to see the final product. We are also proud to have our cross-polarized scan stage, the first to be built from scratch in India, with our hardware team collaborating with the graphics team. Specialized hardware and software have also helped improve our scan to stage speed, giving us high-quality results in very little time.
Pipeline for custom characters
Even though the metahuman creator helps give a strong foundation for digital humans, we are limited in customization. Being a cloud tool, several areas in terms of clothing or anatomy get limited when using metahuman. Our in-house pipeline uses the character creation using Zbrush and Maya, with the complexity of the metahuman rig available later on. A world-class digital human is currently being created for a feature film which will be showcased soon.
Performance capture for Digital Characters
Our in-house facial capture solver takes the best advantage of the metahuman control rig. Another advantage this technology brings along with it is real-time rendering, the process of a digital object being rendered with a strong enough computing power at a fast enough rate with the resultant images arriving in sequence in real-time. You can edit every detail to the human's face, which is instantly applied—with no delay to confirm how your latest design tweak looks, which enables a filmmaker to play with character emotions after the shoot is over—a bounty to this field. Along with real-time rendering, we also use body and finger motion capture to duplicate precisely how we want our digital humans to interact with the virtual world.
The future of Digital Actors
Digital actors can mainly be seen in action scenes and adrenaline-creating shots during the initial phase of this technology. Getting complex decals on the face to create injuries or other effects is also possible to these digital humans. Lastly, these Digital humans are scalable, which is once made for a given actor, we can use it in multiple complex shots. Digital human technology will help create a new generation of storytelling that will thereby help a saturated market.
What sets us apart
As we just saw, this industry has just begun to grow and has a boundless potential to reach heights we cannot even fathom. At Viga, we try to use this technology and enhance it to give you a better experience. We have come up with internal proprietary hardware and software for real-time digital humans to record expressions in real-time, thereby reducing time and making the entire process so much more efficient. We reconstruct characters using a self-built scanner and face tracker. This process is simplified using a state of the art pipelines we have come up with. This technology lets us explore any artistic side. If we can visualize it, we can bring it to life; especially helpful for directors under a strict budget and lack resources. This technology can brighten up the entire movie, get a lot of new elements to the scene within a short duration, and test the team on the spot. Yes, the Unreal Engine metahuman creator is a fascinating piece of tech used to create these digital humans, but we provide absolute freedom to the digital human creator. We have a skilled team that has already successfully created various digital human technologies and worked them in harmony such that you’ll be left rattled as to if they’re real people or renders. We don’t aim to be a run-of-the-mill tech firm. Moreover, we are a catalyst to bring such technology to you, bridging art and technology. We stand out, and we are Viga.