Speech Graphics wins Best Animation Supplier

Photo from above of the 2015 TIGA Awards.

It has been a great few weeks for us here at Speech Graphics. We attended the TIGA Awards, where we won Best Animation Supplier, came third in UK’s first IP League Table, and are celebrating our fifth birthday!

TIGA Awards

The TIGA Awards were held last Thursday at the LSO St. Luke’s in London. There were attendees from all areas of UK game development, from studios and service/technology providers like us, to educational institutions and other businesses that support the industry. I shared a table with a great group, including some nice folks from Reflections, who took home an award for their adventure game Grow Home. It was a fantastic event, and I was honored to represent Speech Graphics. Many thanks to TIGA and all of the judges for recognizing our hard work. You can see the full list of nominees and winners on the TIGA Awards site.

IP 100

The IP 100 is the first league table in the UK to rank the strength and use of intellectual property by businesses. It was founded this year by Business Quarterly and Metis Partners. The table assesses companies based on brand, reputation, patents, software and trade secrets. Speech Graphics was ranked third overall, which is a fantastic result. Other companies in the top ten include SwiftKey and fellow Edinburgh companies LUX Assure and Standard Life. You can see the whole list over at Business Quarterly. The Scotsman also highlighted the strong presence of Scottish companies in the top ten.

5 Years On

November 19 marked five years since Speech Graphics was incorporated. The company has grown so much from the original two-man team that spun out from Edinburgh University. We are proud to have worked with some of the best video game makers in the world, including teams from Warner Brothers and Microsoft, and look forward to adding even more great names to that list.

Thank you to all of our clients, partners and industry friends for your continued support. Here’s to five more!

Photo: TIGA

TIGA Awards finalists and Game Connection Europe

TIGA award finalist logo 2015_v3 2

It has been a very busy few weeks for us here at Speech Graphics, and it is not stopping any time soon! We have started working on some exciting new projects, gotten some great recognition, and are gearing up for our next games industry event. I will be in Paris next week for Game Connection Europe and Paris Games Week. In addition to meeting with studios and making new contacts, I am very excited to check out the games on display. I still have a few meeting slots left, so if you will be in attendance and want to learn more about our facial animation, just let me know.

Speech Graphics has also been shortlisted for Animation Supplier at the 2015 TIGA Games Industry Awards! This is our second year in a row being shortlisted for this award, which is a great honor. The awards ceremony takes place November 12, and we hope that this will be our year. The full list of awards and nominations can be found on the TIGA website, or right here.

We also recently had a profile piece on Alphr, a new website for tech news. This was based on an interview we did with PC Pro magazine, and we are very excited to have a digital version to share.  In addition, I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael from Pivot, a brand new Edinburgh tech blog. Not only was the Speech Graphics piece part of the launch, but a number of  friends from our home at CodeBase and around Edinburgh have also been featured.

Lastly, we had the opportunity to demo at the Data Science for Media event at the University of Edinburgh put on by the Alan Turing Institute. Talks featured speakers from the New York Times, the BBC, Ericsson and more. It was a great event, and we were very glad to take part!

Speech Graphics at Gamescom 2015

Photo of the entrance to Gamescom 2015

Gamescom was last week, and Traci, our Marketing and Business Development Manager, was on hand to represent Speech Graphics. Here is what she had to say:

As always, Gamescom was a great show.  This is the biggest games industry show in the world, so it is full of excitement. Because part of the floor is open to consumers, there is a huge community of gamers that come out for it, and that only adds to the atmosphere!

Though most of my time was spent in the business area discussing our facial animation technology, I was able to check out some of the new games and announcements.

Unravel first caught my eye at E3 earlier this year. EA showed a trailer at their booth, and it looked really interesting. The Gamescom gameplay footage was a deeper look into the game. You play as Yarny, and roam the (very beautiful) world solving puzzles and collecting yarn to replenish your supply. Some elements remind me of Chibi-Robo!, one of my favorite Gamecube games (which is getting it’s own update this year). I’m really looking forward to seeing more!

Crackdown 3 is another exciting title, especially because Crackdown was born here in Scotland. While the first peek at the game was last year, at Gamescom we learned the game is officially Crackdown 3, and got a more in-depth look at the amazing destruction capabilities of the game. Crackdown 3 will use the power of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to help with processing, one of the first games to be supported in such a way. Crackdown is still a Scottish game, being developed by Reagent in Dundee.

There was also a lot of fantastic animation on display, which is always exciting for us. Quantum Break showed it’s all-star cast off for the first time, and it will be really interesting to see how the blend of 3D animation, gameplay, and live action elements work together. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst looked great as well, especially the parkour-style gameplay animations.

Overall, it was a great show with a lot of great games on display. There is a lot to look forward to over the next couple of months!

Traci will also be at XDS in Vancouver next month and is available for meetings. If you would like to learn more about our technology or discuss your facial animation needs, please just get in touch!

Photo: Koelnmesse

Speech Graphics Wins Develop Award!

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We are very happy to share that Speech Graphics has won the Creative Outsourcer – Visual & Development Develop Award! The award show was held last Wednesday in Brighton as part of the Develop conference. We were recognized for the orc facial animations we provided for Monolith’s Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The Develop Award winners are chosen by leaders in the games industry, which is especially meaningful to us.

You can see the full list of winners over at Develop, and here is a highlight video:

We were also nominated for another award recently: Best B2B Technology Product/Service at the Digital Technology Awards. While we did not win the top prize, we were given a Certificate of Commendation, and CTO Michael enjoyed a great night.

Next on our agenda is Gamescom in Cologne, the largest gaming event in the world. We will also be in attendance at SIGGRAPH in San Francisco the following week. If you would like to meet up and discuss our facial animation solutions, please send us an email!

 

 

Speech Graphics Shortlisted for Awards

Finalist DigiTech 2015

It’s been an exciting few weeks here at Speech Graphics. Not only have we made some headway on some really exiting projects, we were recently honored with two award nominations!

Firstly, our friends at Develop shortlisted Speech Graphics for an Industry Excellence Award. Our category is Creative Outsourcer – Visual & Development, a new category this year, and we were nominated based off our orc animations in Shadow of Mordor.

The awards show will be held in Brighton in July during the Develop Conference.

The second award nomination was from ScotlandIS, a trade body championing digital technology in Scotland, and their panel of judges. This time we are in the Best B2B Technology Product/ Service category of the 2015 DigiTech Awards, reflecting our dedication to developing best possible facial animation tools and technology.

These awards will be held in Glasgow in June, and we look forward to taking part!

Check back with us in a few weeks to see if we have won!

See the full list of nominees for both awards at Develop and ScotlandIS.

Deep Learning for Facial Animation

Image of an audio stream and binary code

At Speech Graphics, we invest heavily in R&D to push our procedural facial animation technology to new quality levels, and to engineer new solutions integrating this technology into future products. We have something groundbreaking in the works right now, but can’t say too much yet.

What we can talk about is one of our key research methods: deep learning. You might have heard some buzz around deep learning in the news. For the uninitiated, it is a method of machine learning that recognizes patterns in data. It has some similarities to how the audio-visual cortex in the brain processes stimuli. 

Joris, our lead researcher in machine learning, gives an overview:

“Deep learning is not a new idea. It was developed many years ago, but has only gained widespread popularity in academia and industry in the last decade or so. This is due to improved ways to overcome its inherent difficulties, large computational resources becoming widely available, and most importantly, the increased performance it has demonstrated in virtually every task it is applied to compared to other techniques.

It is now widely used in many pattern recognition tasks, from things like automatic recognition of speech or images, to tasks like searching the web or predicting the stock market. Here at Speech Graphics, we see deep learning as a powerful additional tool to link facial motions with various kinds of related data, such as speech, text, emotion, etc.”

We are not the only ones who have adopted deep learning – Google, Microsoft and IBM have all recently announced major developments using deep learning as well. Deep learning will enable us to continuously improve our technology, and get closer than ever before to bringing next-gen to life.

We will share more information about our new animation projects and research findings soon. In the meantime, to find out more about Carnival™, the system driving Speech Graphics animations, check out our Technology page. To see what Speech Graphics can add to your next project, drop us a line.

GDC 2015: A brief summary

GDC 2015 Entrance

Speech Graphics enjoyed an extremely busy week in San Francisco for Game Developers Conference 2015. Between all of our meetings, demos and events, we did not get much sleep. However, we did have some time to check out the expo floor!

Here are just some of the highlights of the show:

It was a really great week, and a wonderful start to the 2015 show season. If you missed us at GDC but want to learn more about Speech Graphics’ technology and our offerings, please get in touch!

See pictures from the whole week on the GDC Flicker page.

Update: Shadow of Mordor has also won Excellence in Animation at SXSW!

Photo: Official GDC. Cropped from original size. License info here.

Speech Graphics at GDC 2015

Photo od San Francisco, CA the location of GDC 2015

Speech Graphics will be at Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) and Game Connection America in San Francisco March 2-6.

We are looking forward to seeing all the new developments in the industry, as well as showing off our latest and greatest.

This year, in addition to sharing our new animation pipeline and demos, we will have a first look at two new applications of our technology. While we are very excited about these developments, we can only show them behind closed doors! If you want to see how Speech Graphics can enhance your next project, reach out to us today to set up a meeting!

Email traci@speech-graphics.com for more information.

We hope to see you there!

Welcome to Speech Graphics

Facial Animation Team at Speech Graphics

We have been very hard at work here at Speech Graphics over the last few months. Not only has our first published AAA video game project (Shadow of Mordor) been released, but we have a fresh new website, new service offerings, and new demos!

In addition, we have been nominated for three awards, toured at 10+  trade shows and industry events around the world, and moved into a new office!

Back on home turf, our excellent team of programmers have been hard at work improving our animation system, including upgraded motion synthesis and additional language support. Whew!

There is much more on the way, so stay tuned! As soon as we have more to announce, including our latest partnerships, we will update this space.

In the meantime, if you have a project you would like to discuss, please get in touch.

 

To learn more about our new offerings, see our Solutions page.
To see our latest demos and our previous projects, including our work on Shadow of Mordor, head over to the Work page.
If you would like to discuss a project or a test, please Contact Us.