Computer Science

Gibbons Lecture Series: Why Academic Research Matters in Visual Effects

The second of four lectures on Computer Graphics in New Zealand, Thursday, 9th May, 2013
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Speaker: John Lewis
Victoria University of Wellington & Weta Digital Research

When: 6pm for 6.30pm start, Thursday 9th May, 2013
Where: Owen G Glenn Building, Room OGGB3/260-092
Note that there is public parking in the basement of the Owen G Glenn Building at 12 Grafton Road.

John Lewis is an Associate Professor in Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University (part-time). He also works as a Research Lead at Weta Digital. In the past he has worked in academic and industrial research labs, as well as in the film industry at Industrial Light and Magic, Disney, and elsewhere. He has published in journals and conferences including SIGGRAPH, Transactions on Graphics, and others, and has credits on a couple of films including Avatar, The Matrix sequels, and Forrest Gump. Several of his algorithms have been adopted in the film and games industries and incorporated in commercial graphics software packages. For this work he was honoured in 2013 by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a Technical Achievement Award. His current research interests include applications of statistical learning and computer vision in the Arts.

Synopsis: Movie visual effects are a showcase application area for graphics and vision algorithms. Large effects movies may involve hundreds of person-years of manual artistic effort, and a significant part of this involves reconstructing the geometry or motion of filmed actors, objects, and environments. Visual effects facilities are increasingly tracking and adopting academic research in these areas. This talk will present successful applications of computer vision and related algorithms in movies. The talk will also identify assumptions in academic research that sometimes prevent the easy adoption of otherwise promising research efforts.


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