Medusa Facial Capture System

The Medusa Facial Capture system, developed by DisneyResearch|Studios, consists of a mobile rig of cameras and lights coupled with proprietary software that can reconstruct actor’s faces in full motion, without using traditional motion-capture dots.

The technology comes as the result of many years worth of research and scientific advances in capturing and modeling of human faces.

Medusa delivers high-resolution 3D faces, with the ability to track individual pores and wrinkles over time, and can recover per-frame dynamic appearance (blood flow and shininess of the skin), providing a very realistic virtual face that is ideal for creating digital doubles for visual effects and computer games.

Medusa is useful in two primary scenarios: 1 – building an expression shape library, and 2 – reconstructing performance dialog. The following videos demonstrate examples of these two scenarios.

Medusa has been used in the following productions


Medusa is the result of the hard work of many people:

Thabo Beeler
Derek Bradley
Paulo Gotardo
Jérémy Riviere
Pascal Bérard
Gaspard Zoss
Andreea Radoescu
Chenglei Wu
Prashanth Chandran
Sebastian Winberg
Loïc Ciccone
Irene Baeza
Max Grosse
Roman Cattaneo
Jan Wezel
Ronnie Gaensli
Bernd Bickel
Robert W. Sumner
Paul Beardsley
Abhijeet Ghosh
Markus Gross

Research Lead
Research Lead
Research (Appearance)
Research (Appearance)
Research (Eyes)
Research (Skull/Jaw)
Research (Ears)
Research (Teeth)
Research (Landmarks)
Research (Facial Hair)
Software Engineering
Software Engineering
Software Engineering
Software Engineering
Hardware Engineering
Hardware Engineering
Research Guidance
Research Guidance
Research Guidance
Research Guidance (Appearance)
Lab Director

And a special thanks to everyone at ILM for adopting Medusa and using it to make stunning digital humans!


The Medusa Performance Capture System is based on several recent technological advances created at Disney Research. We are continually improving the technology to provide the most state-of-the-art capture system in visual effects. For more details on the technology, please refer to the following research projects.

Facial Hair Tracking for High Fidelity Performance Capture

July 24, 2022

Sebastian Winberg (DisneyResearch|Studios/ETH Zurich) Gaspard Zoss (DisneyResearch|Studios/ETH Joint PhD) Prashanth Chandran (DisneyResearch|Studios/ETH Joint PhD) Paulo Gotardo (DisneyResearch|Studios) Derek Bradley (DisneyResearch|Studios)

Model-Based Teeth Reconstruction

November 11, 2016

Chenglei Wu (ETH Zürich) Derek Bradley (Disney Research) Pablo Garrido (Max Planck Institute for Informatics) Michael Zollhöfer (Max Planck Institute for Informatics) Christian Theobolt (Max Planck Institute for Informatics)
Markus Gross (Disney Research/ETH Zürich)
Thabo Beeler (Disney Research)

High-Quality Passive Facial Performance Capture using Anchor Frames

August 7, 2011

Thabo Beeler (Disney Research) Fabian Hahn (Disney Research/ETH Joint PhD) Derek Bradley (Disney Research) Bernd Bickel (Disney Research) Paul Beardsley (Disney Research) Craig Gotsman (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology) Robert W. Sumner (Disney Research) Markus Gross (Disney Research/ETH Zurich)

For more information on the Medusa technology, please contact

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