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

With special thanks to:

Max Grosse
Roman Cattaneo
Jan Wezel
Ronnie Gaensli
Bernd Bickel
Robert W. Sumner
Paul Beardsley
Abhijeet Ghosh
Pascal Bérard
Gaspard Zoss
Andreea Radoescu

Software Engineering
Software Engineering
Hardware Engineering
Hardware Engineering
Research Guidance
Research Guidance
Research Guidance
Research Guidance (Appearance)
Research (Eyes)
Research (Skull/Jaw)
Research (Ears)

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.

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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