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Drive player engagement with blockbuster performances: Introducing Ziva Real-Time

August 2, 2023 in Engine & platform | 6 min. read
Cat character created with Ziva Real-Time poses coyly over blue background
Cat character created with Ziva Real-Time poses coyly over blue background

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Character artists working on games, film, and animation can use Ziva Real-Time to bring highly detailed, ‘offline-quality’ digital characters to real-time environments. Ziva Real-Time’s approach is scalable, and offers an innovative alternative to traditional skinning techniques. Results are fast, retaining the quality of non-real-time character model deformations with small file sizes. It’s ideal for streamlining the character animation process in studios where memory budgets need to be considered.

Ziva Real-Time leverages Machine Learning (ML) to automate the encoding of character and creature rigs for use in many RT3D game engines, such as Unity. Machine Learning accelerates the creation of complex deformation models from training data. A compact .ZRT file is produced for efficient storage and transfer of optimized character deformation data for real-time applications.

Benefits of Ziva Real-Time

Ziva Real-Time addresses several pain points and offers a range of benefits that revolutionize the character animation process:

  1. Exceptional real-time deformations: Ziva Real-Time allows artists to build complex character rigs with high-quality deformations, including quasi-static clothing simulations. It provides an innovative alternative to traditional skinning techniques, such as blend shapes, muscle simulations, and morphs, resulting in real-time characters that possess the visual fidelity of their offline counterparts.  
  2. Streamlined workflows: Focusing on the artistic aspects of character performance, Ziva Real-Time frees creators and animators from the technical intricacies of deformation rigs. This streamlining of workflows enables artists to dedicate more time and energy to crafting exceptional character performances without compromising efficiency.  
  3. Platform-agnostic integration: Ziva Real-Time seamlessly integrates into any real-time engine or Digital Content Creation (DCC) software, such as Maya. This compatibility ensures studios can utilize their preferred animation tools while achieving consistent and outstanding deformation results across different platforms.  
  4. Lightweight and fast training: The tool provides efficient training and playback processes. Character rigs can be encoded within minutes, avoiding the need for expensive deep network evaluations or lengthy training times. This efficiency allows artists to iterate and experiment more rapidly, accelerating the production timeline.

What can Ziva Real-Time be used for?

Ziva Real-Time finds applications in various creative industries, including feature animation, episodic work, visual effects, and game character development.

An in-development lion character walks along a dessert background toward a target, stops, and looks around
Lion animation courtesy of Monster Emporium

Real-time games: Game developers can utilize Ziva Real-Time to create highly realistic and dynamic characters that run smoothly in real-time game engines. Whether it's hero characters or background NPCs, Ziva Real-Time offers the opportunity to bring feature-rich characters into the interactive gaming world, enhancing player immersion.

Episodic animation: Animators working on episodic animated series can leverage Ziva Real-Time to streamline their workflows and help them meet demanding production schedules. With real-time character performances that maintain high visual fidelity, animators can achieve exceptional results while optimizing production efficiency.

Cat character poses in various yoga movements using Ziva Real-Time

Visual effects: Ziva Real-Time enables visual effects artists to incorporate real-time character performances seamlessly into their VFX shots. By achieving simulation-quality deformations in real-time, artists can create dynamic and immersive visual effects that enhance the cinematic experience.

How does Ziva Real-Time work?

View of cat character’s Joint Impact Maps (left) and Patch Map (right) in Ziva

The workflow of Ziva Real-Time revolves around creating, training, encoding, and deploying character rigs. Artists can build character rigs using familiar tools and techniques, such as Ziva VFX or traditional rigging methods tailored to their specific performance requirements. Once the rig is set up, Ziva Real-Time leverages ML algorithms to analyze the character's shape-deformation and movement data, creating highly efficient and optimized animated rigs. It then saves the deformations in its proprietary “ZRT” file format. The goal is to create a character rig that looks and feels exactly how you want it to, without worrying about performance or platform limitations.

For more information and a free trial of Ziva Real-Time, visit the product page.

August 2, 2023 in Engine & platform | 6 min. read

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