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Real-time 3D face tracking and reconstruction from 2D video
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4dface: Real-time 3D face tracking and reconstruction from 2D video

Latest release Linux build status of master branch Windows build status of master branch Apache License 2.0 Webpage

This is a demo app showing face tracking and 3D Morphable Model fitting on live webcams and videos. It builds upon the 3D face model library eos and the landmark detection and optimisation library superviseddescent.

(caveat: due to recent additions, "real time" at the moment means around 5 fps.)

Note: This is a research demo from 2015/2016. 4dface has since been commercialised and an improved, up-to-date version is available on This repository also contains an older version of the morphable face model fitting library eos. eos is still in active development, head over to for the latest version.

Build & run

  1. Clone with submodules: git clone --recursive git://, or, if you've already cloned it, get the submodules with git submodule update --init --recursive inside the 4dface directory.

  2. Make sure you've got boost (>=1.54.0 should do), OpenCV (>=3.0), Eigen (>=3.3.0) and a recent compiler (>=gcc-5, >=clang-4, >=VS2017) installed. For Ubuntu 14.04 and newer, this will do the trick:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-toolchain-r/test
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install gcc-7 g++-7 libboost-all-dev libeigen3-dev libopencv-dev opencv-data

    For Windows, we recommend vcpkg to install the Boost, OpenCV and Eigen dependencies.

  3. Build the app: Run from outside the source directory:

    1. mkdir build && cd build

    2. cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../install -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=gcc-7 -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=g++-7 -DOpenCV_haarcascades_DIR=/usr/share/opencv/haarcascades/ ../4dface/

    On Windows, add -G "Visual Studio 15 2017 Win64". Also, you will probably need to add -C ../4dface/initial_cache.cmake as first argument - copy the file from initial_cache.cmake.template and adjust the paths. Or, with vcpkg, use -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=....

    If you get an error about OpenCV_haarcascades_DIR, adjust -DOpenCV_haarcascades_DIR to point to the directory of haarcascade_frontalface_alt2.xml from OpenCV.

  4. Type make or build in Visual Studio.

  5. Type make install, or run the INSTALL target in Visual Studio, to copy all required files into a share/ directory next to the executable.

Then just double-click the 4dface app from the install-directory or run with 4dface -i videofile to run on a video.

Keyboard shortcuts

When running the 4dface app, q quits, r resets the tracking, and s saves an OBJ of the current model to the hard disk (into the directory where it was run from).

Working with the libraries

If you're interested in working with the libraries, we recommend to clone and build them separately. They come with their own CMake project files and have their own GitHub issues pages.

  • eos: A lightweight header-only 3D Morphable Face Model fitting library in modern C++11/14
  • superviseddescent: A C++11 implementation of the supervised descent optimisation method

License & contributions

This code is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. The subprojects are also licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0, except for the 3D morphable face model, which is free for use for non-commercial purposes - for commercial purposes, contact the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing.

Contributions are very welcome! (best in the form of pull requests.) Please use Github issues for any bug reports, ideas, and discussions.

If you use this code in your own work, please cite one (or both) of the following papers:

  • Fitting 3D Morphable Models using Local Features, P. Huber, Z. Feng, W. Christmas, J. Kittler, M. Rätsch, IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) 2015, Québec City, Canada [PDF].

  • A Multiresolution 3D Morphable Face Model and Fitting Framework, P. Huber, G. Hu, R. Tena, P. Mortazavian, W. Koppen, W. Christmas, M. Rätsch, J. Kittler, International Conference on Computer Vision Theory and Applications (VISAPP) 2016, Rome, Italy [PDF].

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