Disney & Carnegie Mellon Researchers Build 3D Face Models That Give Animators Intuitive Control of Expressions

PITTSBURGH—Flashing a wink and a smirk might be second nature for some people, but computer animators can be hard-pressed to depict such an expression realistically. Now scientists at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have created computerized models derived from actors’ faces that reflect a full range of natural expressions while also giving animators the ability to manipulate facial poses.
The researchers developed a method that not only translates the motions of actors into a three-dimensional face model, but also subdivides it into facial regions that enable animators to intuitively create the poses they need. The work, to be presented Aug. 10 at SIGGRAPH 2011, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Vancouver, envisions creation of a facial model that could be used to rapidly animate any number of characters for films, video games or exhibits.
“We can build a model that is driven by data, but can still be controlled in a local manner,” said J. Rafael Tena, a Disney research scientist, who developed the interactive face models based on principal component analysis (PCA) with Iain Matthews, senior research scientist at Disney, and Fernando De la Torre, associate research professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon.

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Disney & Carnegie Mellon Researchers Build 3D Face Models That Give Animators Intuitive Control of Expressions | Disney by Mark