Geometric Methods for Realistic Animation of Faces
Bermano, Amit Haim
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Realistic facial synthesis is one of the most fundamental problems in computer graphics, and has been sought after for approximately four decades. It is desired in a wide variety of fields, such as character animation for films and advertising, computer games, video teleconferencing, user-interface agents and avatars, and facial surgery planning. Humans, on the other hand, are experts in identifying every detail and every regularity or variation in proportion from one individual to the next. The task of creating a realistic human face is elusive due to this, as well as many other factors. Among which are complex surface details, spatially and temporally varying skin texture and subtle emotions that are conveyed through even more subtle motions. In this thesis, we present the most commonly practiced facial content creation process, and contribute to the quality of each of its steps. The proposed algorithms significantly increase the level of realism attained by each step and therefore substantially reduce the amount of manual labor required for production quality facial content. The thesis contains three parts, each contributing to one step of the facial content creation pipeline. In the first part, we aim at greatly increasing the fidelity of facial performance captures, and present the first method for detailed spatio-temporal reconstruction of eyelids. Easily integrable with existing high quality facial performance capture approaches, this method generates a person-specific, time-varying eyelid reconstruction with anatomically plausible deformations. Our approach is to combine a geometric deformation model with image data, leveraging multi-view stereo, optical flow, contour tracking and wrinkle detection from local skin appearance. Our deformation model serves as a prior that enables reconstruction of eyelids even under strong self-occlusions caused by rolling and folding skin as the eye opens and closes. In the second part, we contribute to the authoring step of the creation process. We present a method for adding fine-scale details and expressiveness to lowresolution art-directed facial performances. Employing a high-resolution facial performance capture system, we augment artist friendly content, such as those created manually using a rig, via marker-based capture, by fitting a morphable model to a video, or through Kinect-based reconstruction. From the high fidelity captured data, our system encodes subtle spatial and temporal deformation details specific to that particular individual, and composes the relevant ones to the desired input animation. The resulting animations exhibit compelling animations with nuances and fine spatial details that match captured performances, while preserving the artistic intent authored by the low-resolution input sequences, outperforming current state-of-the-art in example-based facial animation. The third part of the dissertation proposes to enrich digital facial content by adding a significant sense of presence. Replacing the classic 2D or 3D displaying techniques of digital content, we propose the first complete process for augmenting deforming physical avatars using projector-based illumination. Physical avatars have been long used to give physical presence to a character, both in the field of entertainment and teleconferencing. Using a human-shaped display surface provides depth cues and multiple observers with their own perspectives. Such physical avatars, however, suffer from limited movement and expressiveness due to mechanical constraints. Given an input animation, our system decomposes the motion into low-frequency motion that can be physically reproduced by a robotic head and high-frequency details that are added using projected shading. The result of our system is a highly expressive physical avatar that features facial details and motion otherwise unattainable due to physical constraints.