How Sledgehammer tricks you into believing the visual realism of Call of Duty …

Making human faces believable has been a goal of video game developers for a long time. So it may not surprise you that the makers of the new Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare — a game in a franchise that has virtually unlimited development budgets — have tried to deliver on this promise in the latest installment of the multibillion-dollar modern combat series.

Sledgehammer Games, the developer of the new Call of Duty that debuts Nov. 4, wants you to do a double-take when you look at the human faces. The studio tried to do this by pushing technologies such as high dynamic range, physical-based shading, wrinkle maps, performance capture, and physical-based lighting. All of these techniques add subtle features that make animated human skin look and move in a more realistic way.

On a recent visit to Sledgehammer’s headquarters, I sat down with art director Joe Salud and Aaron Halon, the director of product development,

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