Keynote Speakers

    • Prof. Robert Sumner
      Associate Director of DisneyResearch|Studios and an Adjunct Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH)
    • The Science to Create the Magic
      For more than a decade, DisneyResearch|Studios has been pushing the forefront of scientific and technological innovation to advance entertainment products, experiences and shows. Our research covers a broad spectrum of different fields including graphics, vision, augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and AI, as well as interactive technologies. Our innovations are experienced by hundreds of millions of audiences and customers across the world. In this talk I will give and overview of our core research programs including digital humans, story technology, interactive content creation, video processing, and audience understanding. Furthermore, I will share my insights into the fundamental differences between academic and corporate research and highlight the challenges of transferring technology into products.
      Dr Robert Sumner is the Associate Director of DisneyResearch|Studios and an Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. At Disney Robert leads the lab’s research in animation and games. His research group strives to bypass technical barriers in animation and game production pipelines with new algorithms that expand the designer’s creative toolbox in terms of depiction, movement, deformation, stylization, control, and efficiency. Robert received a B.S. degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich before joining Disney.
      At ETH, Robert teaches a course called the Game Programming Laboratory in which students from ETH and the Zurich University of the Arts work in small teams to design and implement novel video games. In 2015, Robert founded the ETH Game Technology Center, which provides an umbrella over ETH research, teaching, and outreach in the area of game technology.
    • Prof. Taku Komura
      Professor of Computer Graphics, University of Edinburgh

    • Learning Neural Character Controllers from Motion Capture Data
      In this talk, I will cover our recent development of neural network-based character controllers. Using neural networks for character controllers significantly increases the scalability of the system - the controller can be trained with a large amount of motion capture data while the run-time memory can be kept low. As a result, such controllers are suitable for real-time applications such as computer games and virtual reality systems. The main challenge is in designing an architecture that can produce movements in production-quality and also manage a wide variation of motion classes. Our development covers low-level locomotion controllers for bipeds and quadrupeds, which allow the characters to walk, run, side-step and climb over uneven terrain, as well as a high level character controller for humanoid characters to interact with objects and the environment, which allows the character to sit on chairs, open doors and carry objects. In the end of the talk, I will discuss about the open problems and future directions of character animation.
      Taku Komura is a Professor at the Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. As the leader of the Computer Graphics and Visualization Unit his research has focused on data-driven character animation, physically-based character animation, crowd simulation, cloth animation, anatomy-based modelling, and robotics. Recently, his main research interests have been the application of machine learning techniques for animation synthesis. He received the Royal Society Industry Fellowship (2014) and the Google AR/VR Research Award (2017).
    • Prof. Karan Singh
      Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto

    • Expressive Facial Modeling and Animation
      Humans are hard-wired to see and interpret minute facial detail. The rich signals we extract from facial expressions imposes high expectations for computer generated facial imagery. This talk focuses on the science and art of expressive facial animation. Specifically, aspects of facial anatomy, biomechanics, linguistics and perceptual psychology will be used to motivate and describe the construction of geometric face rigs, and techniques for the animator-centric creation of emotion, expression and speech animation from input images, audio and video.
      Karan Singh is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He co-directs a globally reputed graphics and HCI lab, DGP, has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, and has supervised over 40 MS/PhD theses. His research interests lie in interactive graphics, spanning art and visual perception, geometric design and fabrication, character animation and anatomy, and interaction techniques for mobile, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR). He has been a technical lead for the Oscar award winning software Maya and was the R&D Director for the 2004 Oscar winning animated short Ryan. He has co-founded multiple companies including Arcestra (architectural design), JALI (facial animation), and JanusVR (Virtual Reality).
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