JALI Research: Advancing Facial Animation Through Innovative Software


JALI Research: Advancing Facial Animation Through Innovative Software

Founded with a vision to push the boundaries of expressive digital characters, JALI Research has emerged as a leader in developing advanced facial animation software. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company offers a suite of tools targeted at empowering digital storytellers across industries ranging from visual effects for major film studios to video game developers crafting immersive worlds.

At the core of JALI’s technology is the capability to automatically generate high-fidelity 3D facial animations from various inputs including text, audio, and text-to-speech. This provides animators and technical artists granular control while also ensuring quality at scale when dealing with vast amounts of dialogue and character interactions. The company has developed proprietary algorithms that capture the nuances and fluidity of human facial expressions and motion.

Integrating JALI’s software within existing animation pipelines is seamless thanks to its robust API and command line interface support. The system works efficiently with common third-party facial rigs and allows for fine-tuning phonemes, visemes (mouth shapes), and specific facial action units. Such interoperability enables it to mesh with major game engines like Unreal Engine as well as Autodesk’s Maya which serves as an industry standard 3D animation software.

Powering this pioneering technology is the company’s multi-disciplinary team combining experts in computer graphics, machine learning, linguistics, biomechanics, and dramatic arts. Central figures include Chief Technology Officer Pif Edwards with his background spanning computer science and theater; Chris Landreth, the Academy Award-winning animator who serves as Creative Officer; and CEO Sarah Watling hailed for her strategic vision. The collective pedigree puts both artistic creativity and engineering rigor at the foundation of JALI’s culture.

Since officially launching its first set of tools in 2020, JALI has actively expanded integrations with leading studios and partners. A notable recent achievement was developing key facial animation software for CD Projekt Red’s blockbuster video game Cyberpunk 2077 which boasted next-generation immersive graphics and dialogue spanning over half a million words. Such collaborations underscore the trust JALI has established when it comes to delivering high-quality results even under tight deadlines.

Moving forward, the company is actively pushing new frontiers in incorporating real-time speech analysis and synthetic content. Showcasing such innovations, the JALI team recreated an excerpt from Chris Landreth’s Oscar-nominated animated short “The End” by leveraging Unreal’s MetaHuman framework showcasing the versatility of their algorithms. Such projects highlight their goal of continuously expanding and experimenting with new techniques, collaborations, and ways to breathe life through their software.

With recognition across key industry events like the Game Developers Conference, SIGGRAPH, and Annecy Animation Festival, JALI Research has successfully positioned itself at the intersection of creativity and technology. As virtual worlds become increasingly mainstream led by metaverse applications, the need for believable, responsive, and diverse digital humans will continue rising exponentially. Backed by both artistic and technical brilliance, the company is poised to drive this transformation through their real-time facial animation solutions. Under the leadership of CEO Sarah Watling, their journey has only just begun.

  • https://jaliresearch.com/