Paul Debevec: “From Spider-Man to Avatar, Emily and Benjamin: Achieving Photoreal Digital Actors”

May 15, 2012 | Cagliari, Italy

Speaker: Paul Debevec
Host: 33rd Annual Conference of the European Association for Computer Graphics (Eurographics 2012)

Somewhere between “Final Fantasy” 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 some of the technological advances that have enabled this achievement. For an in-depth example, the talk describes how high-resolution face scanning, advanced character rigging, and performance-driven facial animation were combined to create “Digital Emily”, a collaboration between the USC ICT Graphics Laboratory and Image Metrics. Actress Emily O’Brien was scanned in Light Stage 5 in 33 facial poses at the resolution of skin pores and fine wrinkles. These scans were assembled into a rigged face model driven by Image Metrics’ video-based animation software, and the resulting photoreal facial animation premiered at SIGGRAPH 2008. The talk also presents techniques which may allow digital characters to leap from the movie screen and into the space around us, including a 3D teleconferencing system that uses live facial scanning and an autostereoscopic display to transmit a person’s face in 3D and make eye contact with remote collaborators.