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The Digital Emily Project: Achieving a Photorealistic Digital Actor
July/August 2010 (vol. 30 no. 4)
pp. 20-31
Oleg Alexander, Image Metrics
Mike Rogers, Image Metrics
William Lambeth, Image Metrics
Jen-Yuan Chiang, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
Wan-Chun Ma, Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, Marina del Rey
Chuan-Chang Wang, Next Media Animation
Paul Debevec, USC Institute for Creative Technologies
The Digital Emily Project uses advanced face scanning, character rigging, performance capture, and compositing to achieve one of the world's first photorealistic digital facial performances. The project scanned the geometry and reflectance of actress Emily O'Brien's face in 33 poses, showing different emotions, gaze directions, and lip formations in a light stage. These high-resolution scans—accurate to skin pores and fine wrinkles—became the basis for building a blendshape-based facial-animation rig whose expressions closely matched the scans. The blendshape rig drove displacement maps to add dynamic surface detail. A video-based facial animation system animated the face according to the performance in a reference video, and the digital face was tracked onto the video's motion and rendered under the same illumination. The result was a realistic 3D digital facial performance credited as one of the first to cross the "uncanny valley" between animated and fully human performances.

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Index Terms:
computer graphics, animation, graphics and multimedia
Citation:
Oleg Alexander, Mike Rogers, William Lambeth, Jen-Yuan Chiang, Wan-Chun Ma, Chuan-Chang Wang, Paul Debevec, "The Digital Emily Project: Achieving a Photorealistic Digital Actor," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 20-31, July-Aug. 2010, doi:10.1109/MCG.2010.65
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