Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Photo Game Face Spotlight

We check out the new photo game face feature in Tiger 08, and put our own faces in the game.

Though in-depth character creation has long been the specialty of role-playing or action games, one of the best creation tools in gaming can be found, of all places, in a golf series, namely Tiger Woods PGA Tour. For years now, the game face technology that powers the character creator has continually evolved, giving the player more flexibility when creating their virtual duffer with each passing season. With the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, the game face tool takes another step forward, this time by letting players import pictures of their own face and map it onto their virtual player. Curious about this new feature, we rounded up a few GameSpot editors (along with a few other hapless victims) as virtual guinea pigs to see how the new feature works, and how closely we could match the virtual golfers to the real thing.

How It Works

Creating a virtual golfer has always been one of the best parts of the Tiger Woods series, and it's set to be even better with the upcoming photo gameface feature.

You can import your image in two ways: by snapping a photo of yourself in the game using your Xbox Live Vision Camera or PS3 EyeToy, or by uploading previously snapped digital photos of yourself to an EA Web site, and accessing that photo via your console.

You can choose to take either one or two photos for your game face--a required frontal head shot, and an optional profile shot. Taking two photographs will result in a more detailed final product, naturally. You'll want to follow a few basic guidelines when taking photos to get the best possible results:

  1. The more lighting the better. Any odd shadows on your face are going to show up as smudges on your generated game face.
  2. Take your photo against a plain background if possible. We got better results when taking photos against a basic white wall than when taking shots at our desk.
  3. Pull your hair off your forehead, as any stray hairs might show up in the rendered version of your forehead.
  4. No exaggerated facial movement in the picture. You want your face to be "at rest" and as inanimate as possible for the picture. Figure it this way: When you blow that eagle putt at the 18th at Pebble Beach, the game can handle animating your character's pitiful expression of desperation just fine.
Take a photo with your Eye Toy, Xbox Live Vision camera, or your digital camera, then upload it to the EA server for processing.

If you're looking to use a digital camera for your photo game face, the process is slightly different, but still quite easy. Take a front and side shot with your digital camera using the tips above, then upload them to an EA Sports Web site (we used a test site for our purposes) and make some fine adjustments to the photos for things like facial positioning and lighting. Once complete, you simply go back to the game, request to download pictures from the Web, and the game will provide you with thumbnails of all the pics you've uploaded. Choose the pics you want from the available list and then move on to the next step.

Finding Your Mark

Markers help pinpoint your face's most important features.

Once you have your pictures in order, it's time to set the markers that will help the game build your face. For both your front and side shot, you'll need to set markers--small dots--to line up with various guide points on your face, such as your eyes, your chin, jaw line, and so on. There's an example model to go by so you know exactly where to line up each marker, and you can zoom in on your picture with the right trigger to get a more detailed view. The trickiest thing with the markers is that the circular target reticule around the actual dot marker sometimes gets in the way of the detail of the photo--it seems like just having the dot there would make things easier in terms of precision.

Once your markers are set, it's time to render your game face, a process that takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. The results are a bald version of your head, which you can then adjust any way you like using the same game face. In our testing, we had to make some minor adjustments to faces in order to get them looking more like the real thing--mostly with things involving head height and face fullness (or lack thereof).

After approximately ten minutes of rendering, you've got a brand new face for use in the game.

As you can tell from the screenshots on the next page, eyebrows tend to be a bit understated when using the photo game face feature. Unlike the standard game face tool, you won't be able to add or change your eyebrow style when using a photo game face (though you can change the shape and size of the brow underneath the eyebrows themselves). In our testing, the best eyebrow results came from photographs taken with a decent digital camera with a flash and shot against a plain white background.

In the end, the new photo game-face feature will give you a head start on creating a reasonable likeness of you for your in-game duffer, a process that could take a long time even with the flexible tools of previous years. It isn't a one-shot-and-you're-done feature, but it's a good place to start. On the next page, check out the results of our photo game-face tests, starring GameSpot editors, as well as a couple of surprises.

Who will you create first in Tiger 08? Leave a comment and let us know!

While experimenting with the new game face features, here's how our virtual golfers are looking in Tiger 08.

Mouse over the default photograph image to see the game face-created golfer.

Mouse over the default photograph image to see the game face-created golfer.

Mouse over the default photograph image to see the game face-created golfer.

And a couple more experiments, just for the heck of it:

Mouse over the default photograph image to see the game face-created golfer.

Mouse over the default photograph image to see the game face-created golfer.

Who will you create first in Tiger 08? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Discussion

132 comments
wicnallim
wicnallim

I have a very basic question about PHOTO GAME FACE, solely for PC VERSION. Is it even an option for the pc version? If so, where can it be found and how would it work. I appreciate any help anyone is willing to give. Thanks. wic.

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

I dont know, I have messed with that thing for hours and half the time I cant seem to get my damn eyes to line up with the models, even though I put the dots in the correct spots.

sugga_lix
sugga_lix

Meh Photo Game Face.....Might be a good idea if it was actually working...which it hasn't been since the 28th when the game came out

jlh47
jlh47

i wonder what would happen if you put in optimus prime or batman with his costume on. now that would be the coolest.

Hydras808
Hydras808

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

borg-gr
borg-gr

imagine to take front of the webcam a photo (like ur grandma) lool? :D

Reetesh
Reetesh

This Feature looks cool :D but it would have been better if it supported directly using any picture from HDD of Consoles.

zux2000
zux2000

This is the only new "big thing" in the series? gett out from here.... I knew this since Rainbow six Vegas had that feature, EA will ofcourse do the same and not only to this game - To all the next sport games, example: Your own "face character to Fight Night 4". They have to come up with better things than just "my own face" for me to buy this...

Mercenary19
Mercenary19

I'd try to see what happens if I upload a picture of an alien. Such as the Zerg from starcraft. That would be some freaky lookin $h!t

finalcross
finalcross

Very nice - the school-girl outfit for Scarlett was a wonderful added touch.

Funkyhamster
Funkyhamster

Dang... this is some pretty crazy stuff.

M3lo15
M3lo15

i would try to create tiger

bond21
bond21

i have no idea who the last guy is but hes a freak....and they got his hairstyle wrong.

Pickleking23
Pickleking23

dont like golf too much but looks freakin awsome, be sweet to see wat kind of pics i can take:P............i got sooo many ideas

FM2000
FM2000

What I'd like to know is if this feature will be available in the PSP version?

laxgoalie416
laxgoalie416

on tony hawk for the psp u could do this... and i took a picture of my dog.. and it looked just like my dog// then i took one of my ass :D i lied about the ass part.. srry i do that.

NDegree
NDegree

Hahahahaha I can't believe it. Is this for real? Then I love to beat Tiger Woods with Justin Timberlake or 50 Cent. Hahahahahahahaaaaa hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaa.

U1
U1

You can use a program called Facegen to do the same thing for free on the PC. It's been out 5 years.

GatoFeo
GatoFeo

Wow, people are going to buy this game just for the feature. Thats just sad. :lol:

mechberg
mechberg

Just FYI, I tried putting my dogs in this feature but I couldn't manage to line up the facial markers on their little faces in a way that the game found acceptable. Once Tiger 08 comes out officially, I'll try again and will post an update with my dog-golfers. - Brian

Ubelnacht
Ubelnacht

It'd be sweet if they put this on a game that didnt involve one of the most boring sports in the history of mankind.

bigmick07
bigmick07

cool feature, but i probably won't buy this untill i can find it for under 30 dollars

Shunten
Shunten

Dang that Nolte is good.

Tokagrien
Tokagrien

they need this in the next gears of war ohhh

SpazH3d
SpazH3d

Jessica Alba is hawt! - Captain Obvious Edit: I would so try this on my cat, i dont think the game have full facial hair though, maybe there's a fur mode. >.

arctic_sword
arctic_sword

Looks like a laugh... I wonder if it will work on my cat? I'd love to see his expression after getting an eagle lol.

ToxicMold
ToxicMold

LOL. That's pretty funny stuff. I'm buying my first Tiger Woods game also this year.

bulldog55
bulldog55

I have to say that the Tiger 08 version of Nick Nolte turned out looking more like Gary Busey. Which is fine, of course, since they are the same guy now.

Vinnie222
Vinnie222

Iam gona have to buy my first Tiger woods game this year

UOducks521
UOducks521

wow thats such a cool feature. Maybe I will buy Tiger Woods for the first time this year.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Very cool, I love customizing your character on the Tiger Woods games..

KraigA
KraigA

Will I be able to keep changing faces or is it once its saved - thats it.. cause id like to gof around and keep changing my online guy every now and then..

nex_gen2011
nex_gen2011

i think i would rather play with my mii looks more real

lil50cent
lil50cent

haha this looks insane might have to check this out when it comes out

Kyran87
Kyran87

Definitely getting this game now.

bmanva
bmanva

Sure PGA can render white faces, what about minorities? I guess we'll never know. That's racist GS!

lanmanna
lanmanna

There is no Wii support, like always... :(

cashmonkey78
cashmonkey78

Will this be in every version of the game or only the PC version?

cashmonkey78
cashmonkey78

This feature is pretty darn awesome! I can't wait until more sports games incorporate this feature.

broke812
broke812

they were gonna do this with the original perfect dark on N64 but they decided it was a bad idea cuz then you could put ppl you hate as bots and kill them.