Shaojun Bian: Data and physics driven facial modeling and animation using sweeping surfaces

Researcher: Shaojun Bian

This proposed research will develop a new facial modelling and animation approach which incorporates data and physics driven techniques and ordinary differential equation-based sweeping surfaces into a single framework. The proposed research has the advantages of simplifying manual operations, integrating facial modelling and animation into a single model, reducing data size, and producing facial models and facial animation more efficiently and realistically.

Facial modelling and animation is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks in character modelling and animation. It plays a crucial role in realistic modelling and animation of virtual characters which has been widely applied in creative industries, especially the computer animation and game industries.

A character model can be built with one of three popular techniques. They are: polygon modelling, patch-based modelling and subdivision modelling. After a character model is built, a skeleton is constructed and its motion is related to the deformation of the model surface called skin. Finally, the principles of animation are used to create the finished animation of the model.

The above discussions indicate that the modelling and animation of virtual characters are two separate processes. Therefore, integrating character modelling and animation into a single model can save the time and effort of animating a character model and raise the efficiency of character modelling and animation. Ordinary differential equation-based temporal and spatial sweeping surfaces have the potential to tackle this issue.

Facial animation is not totally driven by skeleton movements; the realism and efficiency of facial modelling and animation greatly affects the realism of animated virtual characters. New techniques must be developed to tackle the problem of efficient and realistic sweeping surface-based facial modelling and animation.

Taking the above-mentioned into account, a new technique should be developed to integrate sweeping surface-based approaches and data and physics driven methods together to achieve realistic and efficient character modelling and animation, which is currently one of the active research topics and well worth further research.