Computational Illumination for lighting real and virtual actors

Paul Debevec
USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Amazingly, we have entered an age where even the human actors in a movie can be created as computer generated imagery. 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 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. The talk includes recent developments in HDRI lighting, polarization difference imaging, and skin reflectance measurement, 3D object scanning, and concludes with advances in autostereoscopic 3D displays enabling 3D teleconferencing, holographic characters, and cultural preservation.

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