Real-time and robust photorealistic avatars for telepresence in AR/VR have been highly desired for enabling immersive photorealistic telepresence. However, there still exists one key bottleneck: the considerable computational expense needed to accurately infer facial expressions captured from headset-mounted cameras with a quality level that can match the realism of the avatar's human appearance. To this end, we propose a framework called Auto-CARD, which for the first time enables real-time and robust driving of Codec Avatars when exclusively using merely on-device computing resources. This is achieved by minimizing two sources of redundancy. First, we develop a dedicated neural architecture search technique called AVE-NAS for avatar encoding in AR/VR, which explicitly boosts both the searched architectures' robustness in the presence of extreme facial expressions and hardware friendliness on fast evolving AR/VR headsets. Second, we leverage the temporal redundancy in consecutively captured images during continuous rendering and develop a mechanism dubbed LATEX to skip the computation of redundant frames. Specifically, we first identify an opportunity from the linearity of the latent space derived by the avatar decoder and then propose to perform adaptive latent extrapolation for redundant frames. For evaluation, we demonstrate the efficacy of our Auto-CARD framework in real-time Codec Avatar driving settings, where we achieve a 5.05x speed-up on Meta Quest 2 while maintaining a comparable or even better animation quality than state-of-the-art avatar encoder designs.
Eyeglasses play an important role in the perception of identity. Authentic virtual representations of faces can benefit greatly from their inclusion. However, modeling the geometric and appearance interactions of glasses and the face of virtual representations of humans is challenging. Glasses and faces affect each other's geometry at their contact points, and also induce appearance changes due to light transport. Most existing approaches do not capture these physical interactions since they model eyeglasses and faces independently. Others attempt to resolve interactions as a 2D image synthesis problem and suffer from view and temporal inconsistencies. In this work, we propose a 3D compositional morphable model of eyeglasses that accurately incorporates high-fidelity geometric and photometric interaction effects. To support the large variation in eyeglass topology efficiently, we employ a hybrid representation that combines surface geometry and a volumetric representation. Unlike volumetric approaches, our model naturally retains correspondences across glasses, and hence explicit modification of geometry, such as lens insertion and frame deformation, is greatly simplified. In addition, our model is relightable under point lights and natural illumination, supporting high-fidelity rendering of various frame materials, including translucent plastic and metal within a single morphable model. Importantly, our approach models global light transport effects, such as casting shadows between faces and glasses. Our morphable model for eyeglasses can also be fit to novel glasses via inverse rendering. We compare our approach to state-of-the-art methods and demonstrate significant quality improvements.
We present the first neural relighting approach for rendering high-fidelity personalized hands that can be animated in real-time under novel illumination. Our approach adopts a teacher-student framework, where the teacher learns appearance under a single point light from images captured in a light-stage, allowing us to synthesize hands in arbitrary illuminations but with heavy compute. Using images rendered by the teacher model as training data, an efficient student model directly predicts appearance under natural illuminations in real-time. To achieve generalization, we condition the student model with physics-inspired illumination features such as visibility, diffuse shading, and specular reflections computed on a coarse proxy geometry, maintaining a small computational overhead. Our key insight is that these features have strong correlation with subsequent global light transport effects, which proves sufficient as conditioning data for the neural relighting network. Moreover, in contrast to bottleneck illumination conditioning, these features are spatially aligned based on underlying geometry, leading to better generalization to unseen illuminations and poses. In our experiments, we demonstrate the efficacy of our illumination feature representations, outperforming baseline approaches. We also show that our approach can photorealistically relight two interacting hands at real-time speeds. https://sh8.io/#/relightable_hands
The capture and animation of human hair are two of the major challenges in the creation of realistic avatars for the virtual reality. Both problems are highly challenging, because hair has complex geometry and appearance, as well as exhibits challenging motion. In this paper, we present a two-stage approach that models hair independently from the head to address these challenges in a data-driven manner. The first stage, state compression, learns a low-dimensional latent space of 3D hair states containing motion and appearance, via a novel autoencoder-as-a-tracker strategy. To better disentangle the hair and head in appearance learning, we employ multi-view hair segmentation masks in combination with a differentiable volumetric renderer. The second stage learns a novel hair dynamics model that performs temporal hair transfer based on the discovered latent codes. To enforce higher stability while driving our dynamics model, we employ the 3D point-cloud autoencoder from the compression stage for de-noising of the hair state. Our model outperforms the state of the art in novel view synthesis and is capable of creating novel hair animations without having to rely on hair observations as a driving signal. Project page is here https://ziyanw1.github.io/neuwigs/.
Photorealistic avatars of human faces have come a long way in recent years, yet research along this area is limited by a lack of publicly available, high-quality datasets covering both, dense multi-view camera captures, and rich facial expressions of the captured subjects. In this work, we present Multiface, a new multi-view, high-resolution human face dataset collected from 13 identities at Reality Labs Research for neural face rendering. We introduce Mugsy, a large scale multi-camera apparatus to capture high-resolution synchronized videos of a facial performance. The goal of Multiface is to close the gap in accessibility to high quality data in the academic community and to enable research in VR telepresence. Along with the release of the dataset, we conduct ablation studies on the influence of different model architectures toward the model's interpolation capacity of novel viewpoint and expressions. With a conditional VAE model serving as our baseline, we found that adding spatial bias, texture warp field, and residual connections improves performance on novel view synthesis. Our code and data is available at: https://github.com/facebookresearch/multiface
Photorealistic telepresence requires both high-fidelity body modeling and faithful driving to enable dynamically synthesized appearance that is indistinguishable from reality. In this work, we propose an end-to-end framework that addresses two core challenges in modeling and driving full-body avatars of real people. One challenge is driving an avatar while staying faithful to details and dynamics that cannot be captured by a global low-dimensional parameterization such as body pose. Our approach supports driving of clothed avatars with wrinkles and motion that a real driving performer exhibits beyond the training corpus. Unlike existing global state representations or non-parametric screen-space approaches, we introduce texel-aligned features -- a localised representation which can leverage both the structural prior of a skeleton-based parametric model and observed sparse image signals at the same time. Another challenge is modeling a temporally coherent clothed avatar, which typically requires precise surface tracking. To circumvent this, we propose a novel volumetric avatar representation by extending mixtures of volumetric primitives to articulated objects. By explicitly incorporating articulation, our approach naturally generalizes to unseen poses. We also introduce a localized viewpoint conditioning, which leads to a large improvement in generalization of view-dependent appearance. The proposed volumetric representation does not require high-quality mesh tracking as a prerequisite and brings significant quality improvements compared to mesh-based counterparts. In our experiments, we carefully examine our design choices and demonstrate the efficacy of our approach, outperforming the state-of-the-art methods on challenging driving scenarios.
Neural face avatars that are trained from multi-view data captured in camera domes can produce photo-realistic 3D reconstructions. However, at inference time, they must be driven by limited inputs such as partial views recorded by headset-mounted cameras or a front-facing camera, and sparse facial landmarks. To mitigate this asymmetry, we introduce a prior model that is conditioned on the runtime inputs and tie this prior space to the 3D face model via a normalizing flow in the latent space. Our proposed model, LiP-Flow, consists of two encoders that learn representations from the rich training-time and impoverished inference-time observations. A normalizing flow bridges the two representation spaces and transforms latent samples from one domain to another, allowing us to define a latent likelihood objective. We trained our model end-to-end to maximize the similarity of both representation spaces and the reconstruction quality, making the 3D face model aware of the limited driving signals. We conduct extensive evaluations where the latent codes are optimized to reconstruct 3D avatars from partial or sparse observations. We show that our approach leads to an expressive and effective prior, capturing facial dynamics and subtle expressions better.
We present a learning-based method for building driving-signal aware full-body avatars. Our model is a conditional variational autoencoder that can be animated with incomplete driving signals, such as human pose and facial keypoints, and produces a high-quality representation of human geometry and view-dependent appearance. The core intuition behind our method is that better drivability and generalization can be achieved by disentangling the driving signals and remaining generative factors, which are not available during animation. To this end, we explicitly account for information deficiency in the driving signal by introducing a latent space that exclusively captures the remaining information, thus enabling the imputation of the missing factors required during full-body animation, while remaining faithful to the driving signal. We also propose a learnable localized compression for the driving signal which promotes better generalization, and helps minimize the influence of global chance-correlations often found in real datasets. For a given driving signal, the resulting variational model produces a compact space of uncertainty for missing factors that allows for an imputation strategy best suited to a particular application. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach on the challenging problem of full-body animation for virtual telepresence with driving signals acquired from minimal sensors placed in the environment and mounted on a VR-headset.
Social presence, the feeling of being there with a real person, will fuel the next generation of communication systems driven by digital humans in virtual reality (VR). The best 3D video-realistic VR avatars that minimize the uncanny effect rely on person-specific (PS) models. However, these PS models are time-consuming to build and are typically trained with limited data variability, which results in poor generalization and robustness. Major sources of variability that affects the accuracy of facial expression transfer algorithms include using different VR headsets (e.g., camera configuration, slop of the headset), facial appearance changes over time (e.g., beard, make-up), and environmental factors (e.g., lighting, backgrounds). This is a major drawback for the scalability of these models in VR. This paper makes progress in overcoming these limitations by proposing an end-to-end multi-identity architecture (MIA) trained with specialized augmentation strategies. MIA drives the shape component of the avatar from three cameras in the VR headset (two eyes, one mouth), in untrained subjects, using minimal personalized information (i.e., neutral 3D mesh shape). Similarly, if the PS texture decoder is available, MIA is able to drive the full avatar (shape+texture) robustly outperforming PS models in challenging scenarios. Our key contribution to improve robustness and generalization, is that our method implicitly decouples, in an unsupervised manner, the facial expression from nuisance factors (e.g., headset, environment, facial appearance). We demonstrate the superior performance and robustness of the proposed method versus state-of-the-art PS approaches in a variety of experiments.