Imagine a day when you could create a fully personalized 3D avatar just by using the camera on your smartphone. The technology isn’t too far away. Researchers at the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory have developed a system (complete with demo) that would allow users to create true-ish 3D facial reconstructions, complete with dynamic expressions.The researchers report that this technology “facilitates a range of new applications in computer animation and consumer-level online communication based on personalized avatars.” Indeed, imagine going into one of BioWare’s or Bethesda’s character creators and having the ability to upload your 3D face. No longer would gamers spend hours fine-tuning their avatar.The researchers were even able to show how an actor could manipulate multiple 3D facial renders in real-time. In the reconstruction process, as you can see in the video above, the developers pay special attention to details, such as adding wrinkles and making sure the program captures the nuances in each participants’ facial expressions.It’s interesting to see how far 3D facial animations have come. I just keep thinking back to the amount of tech that was necessary to make the acting in the video game LA Noire look so real. The MotionScan technology used to create the facial ticks and tells that cued players as to when a character could be lying were some of the best animations gamers had seen. More recently, Nvidia pushed the envelope with its own demonstration of some new facial recognition tech back in 2013, called FaceWorks. The company managed to condense something like 32GB of data down to 300MB. Now, developers may just need a smartphone camera.