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Creating Believable Characters Seminar
November 30 - December 1

With the promise of greater processing power comes the expectation of a new kind
of player experience that demands more realistic and compelling characters. This
program brings together top researchers and developers to explore the state of the
art in all aspects of creating better characters and their behaviors. Extensive Q&A and
peer discussion ensure attendees can hone in on issues relevant to their own projects.

Day 1: Rendering and Animation Methods
November 30, 2004

Character Rendering Techniques
We look at the advanced techniques and algorithms necessary for taking the next step
in realistic character rendering. Topics include:

Hair Rendering
9:15 AM to 10:15 AM (1 hour)
Overview of state of the art in hair rendering.
Modeling for hair (procedural, integrated with secondary dynamics)

Skin Rendering
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM (1 hour)
Subsurface scattering, self-shadowing,
Global Illumination state of the art in
visual effects and games

Digital Actor Creation
11:30 AM to 12:30 AM (1 hour)
Creation and rendering of digital 3D actors

Speakers include:
Christophe Hery, Industrial Light & Magic
George Borshukov, EA
Tae-Yong Kim, Rhythm and Hues Studios

Catered Lunch and Networking Time
12:30 AM to 1:30 PM (1 hour)

Real-Time rendering of complex characters with modern display hardware
1:30 AM to 2:30 PM (1 hour)
Skin Rendering.
Softening shadows
Subsurface scattering
Hair rendering techniques

Advances in Skinning
2:30 AM to 3:30 PM (1 hour)
Beyond rigid and blend weights.
Physical based skin, muscle,
and fat layer systems.
Pose space and example based
advanced shader techniques.

Character Animation Techniques
In the afternoon, we turn to the techniques needed to make characters move and perform interactively in real-time environments.

Advanced Animation Blending Techniques
3:45 PM to 6:45 PM (3 hours)
Simple techniques for motion blending are well known to most programmers. Unfortunately, when a variety of motions are played on a several different body types and different speeds, things get much more complicated. This section will explore in depth: layered animation including partial body overlays, integrating kinematic and dynamic systems with keyframe animation, bone matching and registering techniques, non-linear and multi-dimensional blends, and animation level of detail techniques.

Speakers include:
Michael Gleicher, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
Lucas Kovar, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
Jason Mitchell, ATI
Brett Bourbin, High Voltage Software

Catered Dinner with Specific Topic Tables

Day 2: Reacting to the World
December 1, 2004

Once you have your pretty character moving well, you face the challenge of making it react dynamically to the world around it. These sessions look at making our characters aware of the world around them and enabling them to respond to it. Topics include:

High performance Animation and kinematic techniques
9:15 AM to 10:45 PM (1.5 hours)
We apply and build on the techniques presented in the previous afternoon sessions with a focus on optimizing animation and kinematic techniques for high performance games.
Interaction between Character and World
11:15 AM to 12:30 AM (2 hours)

Catered Lunch and Networking Time
12:30 PM to 2:00 PM (1.5 hours)

Secondary Animation
1:30 PM to 2:30 AM (1 hour)

Scholarship Presentation
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM (1 hour)
Our scholarship winner will give a short presentation on his work with character dynamics. Followed by a group discussion.

AI Perception/Action cycle
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (2 hours)
AI and dynamic behavior techniques for adding additional reactions and life to physical simulations.

Speakers include:
Tom Forsyth, RAD Game Tools
David Wu, Pseudo Interactive
Torsten Reil, Natural Motion
Tae-Yong Kim, Rhythm and Hues Studios

The topics details and abstracts are being finalized and there are other speakers to be announced! Check back and sign up for the mailing list to keep informed of new details.






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