FAAVSP - The 1st Joint Conference on Facial Analysis, Animation, and
Auditory-Visual Speech Processing

Vienna, Austria
September 11-13, 2015

An Artistic and Tool-Driven Approach for Believable Digital Characters

Volker Helzle

Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Institute of Animation, Germany

This talk focuses on the practical tools developed at the Filmakademie for the creation of believable digital characters. We will discuss solutions that have been implemented to achieve realistic and physically plausible facial deformations during a short setup time. We will also look into new applications that made use of these characters like the cloud based animated messaging service for mobile devices (Emote), an interactive installation where animated characters recite poetry in an emotional way, or the approach we are taking to use stylized animated faces in the research on Autism.

Volker Helzle is in charge of Research and Development at the Institute of Animation at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. After graduating from HDM Stuttgart Media University (Dipl. Ing. AV-Medien) in 2000 he moved to California and for three years worked at Eyematic Interfaces (later acquired by Google) where his team pioneered facial performance capture substantially contributing to the engineering and development of the Eyematic Facestation. In 2003 he joined Filmakademie where he supervises the research and development department at the Institute of Animation. The primary focus of his first few years at Filmakademie has been the development of facial animation tools. This led to one of the first plausible technology tests, realizing a virtual actor in an exemplary VFX production. In addition to the technical research Volker is supervising the curriculum for the postgraduate Technical Director (TD) course at Filmakademie. TDs tackle the technological challenges of Animation, VFX and Transmedia productions at Filmakademie. The close relation to the research group allows students to engage in multidisciplinary projects. As a program consultant he contributes to the organization of the annual FMX conference. Being a C-64 kid of the 80ties, Volker's life was strongly influenced by video games and early computer graphics. To this day he is a passionate gamer but also finds interest in completely analogical activities like mountain hiking, gardening or yoga.

Bibliographic reference.  Helzle, Volker (2015): "An artistic and tool-driven approach for believable digital characters", In FAAVSP-2015 (abstract).