Mickey's Wrinkles: Disney on Animating Facial Expressions
swissnex San Francisco - swissnex
Disney computer scientists working at the ETH Zurich are creating the entertainment technologies of tomorrow, from hyper-realistic facial modeling to video retargeting and 3-D animation.The future of entertainment is here. Well, it's in Zurich, Switzerland, anyway.Everyone knows The Walt Disney Company's famous mouse, Mickey. Most also know Disney-Pixar characters like Nemo, Mr. Incredible, and Wall-E. But perhaps Disney's most fascinating players are the ones working behind the scenes on the entertainment technologies of tomorrow—scientists like those at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), where Disney established a research laboratory 18 months ago called Disney Research Zurich, inaugurated at the end of April, 2010.In honor of the unique partnership, swissnex San Francisco and the Greater Zurich Area welcome two of the main researchers involved. Markus Gross, Disney Research Zurich's director and head of the computer graphics laboratory at ETH Zurich, explains the novel relationship between Disney and ETH as well as some of the results already coming out of the collaboration. For example, the video retargeting algorithm developed in the lab that scales video for smaller screens (an iPad, say) by keeping important parts of the image in proportion while distorting less meaningful views.Bob Sumner, Disney Research Zurich's associate director and head of the animation and interactive graphics research group, presents the lab's work on computer-assisted techniques for artists working in traditional, hand-drawn animation. He also describes new techniques for modeling human faces down to pore level for believable, hyper-realistic visages, the holy grail of special effects.