Why did Apple buy motion-capture maker Faceshift?

“Not too long after the first rumors surfaced, Apple has given its usual non-confirmation that it has acquired Faceshift, the company behind the technology Star Wars used to animate the faces of CGI characters,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “It’s not an obvious fit for Apple, so what could be the thinking behind the purchase?”

“Like Apple’s patents, it is sometimes easy, I think, to read too much into some of the company’s acquisitions. Sure, it doesn’t go around acquiring companies randomly, but it may not always be after the complete package. It may well be that there is some small element of the company’s technology that Apple wants, or it may be an acquihire – where it’s the engineers rather than the specific tech the company wants,” Lovejoy writes. “But in this particular case, there is reason to suspect that Apple does have an interest in the broad brush-strokes of what Faceshift does.”

Lovejoy writes, “If it could make face-recognition as reliable as Touch ID, that would be even more convenient: unlock your device just by picking it up (or opening the lid of a MacBook). Authorize iTunes purchases without doing a thing, simply because you’re already looking at the screen and it knows who you are. No need to hold your iPhone awkwardly when making Apple Pay purchases – so long as the camera can see your face, it authorizes them automatically.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Face ID. Yes, please!

And PhotoBooth on steroids, too, of course!

Apple acquires ‘Star Wars’ contributor Faceshift – November 25, 2015
Apple has purchased facial motion-capture company FaceShift – September 4, 2015


    1. This is close to what I’d picture from this acquisition.

      I’ve had some exposure to Apple’s M&A. I can say definitively that Apple NEVER does acquisitions for products it doesn’t know what to do with but it does do acquihires, so of course they may have just been acquiring a brilliant team that knows a lot about 3D and OpenGL and compositing and so on.

      Here are some other possibilities that come to mind:

      • Faceshift doubtlessly has some private frameworks for compositing that could be valuable for game APIs. Apple may be building up a trove of IP for Apple TV and iOS game developers. Watch for other acquisitions or WWDC announcements to see if they’re going in that direction.

      • Imagine a FaceTime feature where you could choose a face model and it would animate as you move your face, using a combination of facial feature tracking and 3D rendering. Choose a tyrannosaurus, move your puny human mouth while talking, and the tyrannosaurus’s gigantic maw would do the talking. (Would be especially cool with voice modification.)

      • The Pro Apps team loves new features, and this could go into Motion somehow. This would have been better technology for Shake, but that’s gone.

      • Here’s what I really think this is about: a 3D Siri avatar for Apple TV. Talk to Siri, and she appears and talks to you on screen. If I were Apple I would buy Faceshift for this.

      Other ideas?

  1. It makes sense if, in the long term, both Apple and ABC/Disney see a possible merger. Apple is looking for potential to add value to the products they make. That’s why they bought up the rights to Liquid Metal. But there could be a technical play here that benefits both their short term and long term goals.

    If you ask me, Apple and Disney are a good fit, on multiple levels.

    1. Already being done on a large scale by our friends at Facebook and google photo…remember, if you are getting a great internet service for “free”, you are not the customer- you are the product. This facial recognition service will be sold to advertisers, law enforcement and who ever else wants to buy it.

  2. I predict Apple is Makeing a self driving car with an avatar in the dash with the motion capture software They just acquired. To bring Siri to life as your traveling companion

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