CS99k: Sophomore Dialog on "Digital Actors"

2000 Spring Quarter

Course Description

Digital actors are an emerging field of study, with applications to video games, movies, simulation and training, manufacturing, animated web pages, etc. This course will introduce this new field and will present a number of computational techniques to create and animate digital actors on computer displays. These techniques range from robotics (kinematics, dynamics, motion control), to geometric computing (geometric modeling, collision detection, motion planning), to computer vision (motion capture), to graphics (visibility computation, rendering). The course will start by considering the general problem of creating/animating digital actors and will then break this problem into smaller technical subproblems (e.g., kinematic modeling of digital actors, simulation of visual and touch sensing, generation of group behavior, software architecture). Each meeting will study one subproblem using a representative paper published on this problem. The course will be illustrated with existing software. Each student will have to read a subset of the papers and to comment creatively on them.

Course organization and Assignments

The course will consist of eight two-hour meetings in the Spring'00, on Mondays, from 3 to 5pm, in Gates 100.

The first two meetings will introduce the course, give an overview of the material that will be covered in the other meetings, and illustrate the concept of a digital actor with one of the most comprehensive software systems commercially available to create and animate digital actors. They will also describe techniques to represent motion in a computer.

Each other meeting will focus on a limited topic. In general, I will give a brief introduction of the topic; then three students will present technical papers (or book chapters) related to this topic (20-minute presentation). The rest of the time will be used for discussion. Occasionally, there will be a guest speaker.

Each student will have to do the following work:

Students and Emails

Patricia (Sha Sha) Chu, shasha1@leland
Robert Frezza, bfrezza@leland
Kawon Lee, kawonlee@stanford.edu
Chris Montgomery, cmonty@leland
John Rector,jrector@stanford.edu
Arjun Rihan@leland
Shane Witnov, switnov@stanford.edu

Schedule and Syllabus

Meeting 1 (April 3) : Notion of a Digital Actor and Motion Representation

Meeting 2 (April 10) : Example of Digital Actor Authoring Software: Motivate

Meeting 3 (April 17) : Modeling (Geometry, Kinematics, Dynamics) a Digital Actor

Meeting 4 (April 24) : Motion Generation Techniques

Meeting 5 (May 1) : Motion Planning

Meeting 6 (May 8) : Digital Actors with Sensing and Memory

Meeting 7 (May 15) : Animating Deformable Objects and Soft Tissues

Meeting 8 (May 22): High-Level Behaviors and Man-Machine Interaction

Links to relevant research:

Links to relevant companies: