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The Tech Behind Injustice 2’s Facial Animations Is Impressive


Injustice 2 has one of the best facial animations in a video game currently, and that’s saying something since it’s only a fighting game. Recently, the folks at CNET managed to get some behind-the scenes look at how the team at NeatherRealm Studios did the facial animations, and boy is it using some impressive tech.

To create each character, they use a custom photogrammetry facial scanner equipped with 44 DSLR cameras with 50mm fixed lenses. Then a baseline of 16 facial expressions was captured which takes two to three days to process.

The setup might remind people of the rig used to capture facial animations in Rockstar’s L.A. Noire (which is getting new ports coming later this year). That was impressive for its time, but it was only to capture facial animations.

NeatherRealm also has an in-house performance capture setup for cutscenes seen in Injustice 2’s story mode. Four head-mounted camera systems to capture facial animations alongside the standard motion-capture.

Here’s a short snippet how the performance capture is translated into the game.

The whole process is not entirely automated. Animators still have to do some clean-up with the facial animations to ensure each character’s iconic look like Superman and Harley Quinn are appear as it should.

It’s a lot of work, but it paid off. Injustice 2’s story mode is one of the satisfying ones on a fighting game, and the sheer quality it exudes from the cutscenes and character banter among the DC superheroes and supervillains makes it a fun experience. Read more about Injustice 2 in our review here.