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Digital human faces are getting eerily accurate

Check out the new real-time Unity demo’s impressive hair and skin tech

Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

With the 2022 Game Developers Conference (GDC) kicking off this week, the developers behind the Unity game engine have published a new real-time graphics tech demo called “Enemies.”

The video is relatively simple in its plot and setting — at least initially. A woman sits at a chess board, and then her table starts to shift into the ground via a mechanized elevator. The camera looks up as the walls around the character move using hundreds of tiny mechanical pieces.

Eventually, the camera starts to shift onto the character herself, as she starts to play with the chess pieces. The entire model looks almost real, with the wrinkles in her hands, the cloth of her shirt, and the hair on her head acting as the real standouts here. While demos like this are often years ahead of practical implementation, Unity revealed that its new hair system and “digital human toolset” will come to the program soon — a “month or two” according to the blog that went up with the demo.

The demo is its own showcase for the technology, but the aforementioned blog on Unity’s website explains how some of the new real-time rendering tech works, and what makes it so impressive, specifically talking about the focus on the character’s hair and face.

The next level of puzzles.

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