During a panel at PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, presented by Sony Interactive Entertainment, The Last of Us: Part II Creative Director Neil Druckmann introduced a video showcasing Naughty Dog’s new performance capture technology that is being used for the game.
Druckmann mentioned that game developers often cast actors that look like the characters they play, but Ashley Johnson doesn’t look Ellie, and Troy Baker doesn’t look like Joel. Due to that, Naughty Dog had to create a different process.
They had to create digital doubles of Johnson and Baker while the artists created a whole new next-gen sculpt of Joel and Ellie. In the video below you can see the tech in action, with a digital double of Johnson with Ellie’s textures (which is why she has freckles), transforming and morphing into Ellie. Basically the technology takes the performance from the digital double and transposes it on Ellie.
According to Druckmann, Ellie’s is “by far” the most advanced character model ever created within the Sony Interactive Entertainment group, especially with elements like how the flesh moves on the bones and the eyes. Before they could never cut too close to the eyes with the camera, because they didn’t have the fidelity. Now they can.
In film, if you want to do different takes, you need a cut in the middle. This technology allows to blend different takes. Funnily, while recording the video, both Johnson and Baker spent a full day making all those expressions in order to have them all captured.
If you missed it, you can check out the reveal trailer of The Last of Us: Part II, showcased today during PlayStation Experience’s keynote. You can also read more details about the game, and watch another video showcasing the beautiful new music theme created for the game by Composer by Gustavo Santaolalla.