Machine Learning: Real Time Photorealistic Humans at Digital Domain

Over the last year and a half, Digital Domain has been adapting its award winning digital human technology to real-time. With the advent of new machine learning techniques and ever more powerful graphics cards, we realized that creating a digital human that is on the far side of the uncanny valley was now possible.

In this presentation, I will discuss how these characters were created, how they work in real-time, what had to be done to achieve this level of detail and subtle motion, and what are the limitations and potentials of this technology.

Machine learning is rapidly changing how we approach problems in visual effects but it also requires a brand new way of solving problems. This new approach is extremely powerful when it works… and very frustrating when it doesn’t. I will discuss how we have applied machine learning to problems that only a few years ago were solved with traditional computer science methods or by having an artist manually solve it.

I will also discuss the applications of this technology in film and entertainment and in our day-to-day life.
 

Doug Roble

Doug is the Senior Director of Software R&D at Digital Domain. He’s been working at Digital Domain for over 25 years. Along the way he’s written a computer vision toolkit that won a Sci/Tech Academy Award (1998), a motion capture editing suite, a couple of fluid simulation packages (which led to another Sci/Tech Award in 2007) and is currently fascinated with incorporating machine learning techniques into visual effects, especially character animation. He’s been the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Graphics Tools (2006-2011) and is the chair of the Academy’s Sci/Tech Awards committee (2018) and a member of the Academy’s Sci/Tech Council. This all started with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Ohio State University way back in 1992.

Digital Domain creates transportive experiences that entertain, inform and inspire. Throughout the last quarter of a century, the studio has grown to lead the visual effects industry, expanding globally into digital humans, virtual production, previsualization and virtual reality, and adding commercials, game cinematics and episodics to the robust film roster. Digital Domain’s rich legacy consists of hundreds of blockbuster feature films for every major studio and thousands of commercials, music videos, game cinematics and digital content by world-renowned directors and brands.

A creative force in visual effects and premium content, Digital Domain and its predecessor entities have brought artistry and technology to films including “Titanic,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and blockbusters “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ready Player One.” Staff artists have won more than 100 major awards, including Academy Awards, Clios, BAFTA awards and Cannes Lions.

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