Achieving Photoreal Digital Actors

April 22, 2015 | Palo Alto, CA

Speaker: Paul Debevec
Host: The Stanford Center for Image Systems Engineering (SCIEN)

We have entered an age where even the human actors in a movie can now be created as computer generated imagery. Somewhere between “Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within” in 2001 and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, digital actors crossed the “Uncanny Valley” from looking strangely synthetic to believably real. This talk describes how the Light Stage scanning systems and HDRI lighting techniques developed at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies have helped create digital actors in a wide range of recent films. For in‐depth examples, the talk describes how high‐resolution face scanning, advanced character rigging, and performance‐driven facial animation were combined to create “Digital Emily”, a collaboration with Image Metrics (now Faceware) yielding one of the first photoreal digital actors, and 2013’s “Digital Ira”, a collaboration with Activision Inc., yielding the most realistic real‐time digital actor to date. A recent project with USC’s Shoah Foundation is recording light field video of interviews with survivors of the Holocaust to allow interactive conversations with life-size automultiscopic projections.