Abstract : In this paper we present a method to relight human faces in real time, using consumer-grade graphics cards even with limited 3D capabilities. We show how to render faces using a combination of a simple, hardware-accelerated parametric model simulating skin shading and a detail texture map, and provide robust procedures to estimate all the necessary parameters for a given face. Our model strikes a balance between the difficulty of realistic face rendering (given the very specific reflectance properties of skin) and the goal of real-time rendering with limited hardware capabilities. This is accomplished by automatically generating an optimal set of parameters for a simple rendering model. We offer a discussion of the issues in face rendering to discern the pros and cons of various rendering models and to generalize our approach to most of the current hardware constraints. We provide results demonstrating the usability of our approach and the improvements we introduce both in the performance and in the visual quality of the resulting faces.