Watch: Japanese Tech Transforms 2D Anime Characters Into Animated 3D Ones

To take advantage of modern 3D hardware acceleration, many two-dimensional games are actually rendered in 3D using an orthogonal camera and textured quads -- flat rectangles with an image on top. Live2D, from Japanese company Cybernoids, takes this process a step further by allowing artists to use 2D images -- say from anime -- and transform them into 3D recreations.

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as throwing a 2D image into the system -- developed by Japanese tech firm Cybernoids -- and waiting patiently for the results. As the video above shows, the user must map the flat images onto a mesh, much like a traditional 3D artist would align texture UVs on a model.

As Cybernoids CEO Tetsuya Nakajo explains, Live2D is designed to help artists transition 2D art to 3D and apply smooth animations, without the need for significant experience in the extra dimension:

"When the face turns sideways, you can show perfectly how the eyelashes and eyes move. You can also use the tools to work more easily and efficiently. This can be done in all kinds of ways, with all kinds of emphasis, depending on what the creator wants to do. This technology is an extension of drawing, so it works best if the creator has a good artistic sense."

Live2D is currently seeing most use in gaming, though the technology is at its strongest when not a great deal of movement is required. Cybernoids hopes to extend the tech to encompass more advanced motion within the next few years.

[Akihabara News]

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    Looks like what people have been doing with those web based Java apps for years and years...?
    So creepy how they always use "school girls" for this sort of thing.

      Heh.. Japs do like there freaky schoolgirl anime..
      This is awesome stuff though, they'll be able to make 2D graphics look a lot more malleable with fo 3D. There are some scary smart people out there.

    There has been a few apps that utilise this technology out in the wild for a while, although they are all Otaku market oriented for now.

    Now this is the Japan we know and love! My thoughts straight away were, wouldn't it be great to be able to scan in any drawing and have it rendered like this - in maybe 5 years or so.

    Reminds me of Borderlands...

      thats 3d made to look 2d which is actually pretty common. this takes 2d and alows the computer to adjust it to make it behave like 3d

    Very interesting.

    It is basically warping a set of images on 2D layers based on the angle of incidence towards the camera. It will be interesting to see how they solve the 180-360 degree rotation problem.
    Pretty efficient way to do it though, but this sort of tech will be redundant once devices are powerful enough to render NURBS or high density spline models.

    What about the tentacles? Will it work with them as well?

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