Activision unveiled some new real-time rendering technology for human characters at the Game Developers Conference last week.This is the result of several years of research in to creating photo realistic human characters for video games. Although the animation itself a bit off and suffers from the infamous "Uncanny Valley" effect, just on a purely technical level this is pretty impressive.
From the video's description on YouTube:
This animated character is being rendered in real-time on current video card hardware, using standard bone animation. The rendering techniques, as well as the animation pipeline are being presented at GDC 2013, "Next Generation Character Rendering" on March 27.
The original high resolution data was acquired from Light Stage Facial Scanning and Performance Capture by USC Institute for Creative Technologies, then converted to a 70 bones rig, while preserving the high frequency detail in diffuse, normal and displacement composite maps.
It is being rendered in a DirectX11 environment, using advanced techniques to faithfully represent the character's skin and eyes.
More technical details can be found here.
Via Cartoon Brew.