CDE Alumni Members

 

We are extremely proud of our alumni members; many now have fantastic jobs with their host companies.  This is a credit to their hard work and determination during the four year EngD process.  Take a look and see what they are up to.

2013
Anamaria Ciucanu

Anamaria Ciucanu

Research

E-StopMotion: Reconstructing and Enhancing 3D Animation of Stop Motion Characters by Reverse Engineering Plasticine Deformation

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

I wanted some time to explore the computer animation field, without the immediate stress common in industry.

Also, I felt the need to solve real problems that the industry faces at the moment.

Where did you complete your placement?

Formerly working with Fat Pebble

Stop Motion Animation is the traditional craft of giving life to handmade models. The unique look and feel of this art form is hard to reproduce with 3D computer generated techniques. This is due to the unexpected details that appear from frame to frame and to the sometimes choppy appearance of the character movement. The artist's task can be overwhelming as he has to reshape a character into hundreds of poses to obtain just a few seconds of animation. The results of the animation are usually applied in 2D mediums like films or platform games. Character features that took a lot of effort to create thus remain unseen.

We explored a novel system that allows the creation of 3D stop motion-like animations from 3D character shapes reconstructed from multi-view images. Given two or more reconstructed shapes from key frames, our method uses a combination of virtual clay deformation, non-rigid registration and as-rigid-as-possible interpolation to generate plausible in-between shapes. This significantly reduces the artist's workload since much fewer poses are required. The reconstructed and interpolated shapes with complete 3D geometry can be manipulated even further through deformation techniques. The resulting shapes can then be used as animated characters in games or fused with 2D animation frames for enhanced stop motion films.

https://vimeo.com/289971097

Video accompanying the publication:
Anamaria Ciucanu, Naval Bhandari, Xiaokun Wu, Shridhar Ravikumar, Yong-Liang Yang, Darren Cosker. 2018. E-StopMotion: Digitizing Stop Motion for Enhanced Animation and Games. In MIG 18: Motion, Interaction and Games (MIG 18), November 8-10, 2018, Limassol, Cyprus. ACM, New York, USA, 11 pages.

Current Employment/Job Title

Working on two individual research projects, Character Essences and Research and Play. I'm interested in working in the film and games RnD departments.

https://anamariaciucanu.com/

2013
Daniela De Angeli

Daniela De Angeli

Research

Museums in the Digital Age: Understanding Visitors' Behaviour with Real and Virtual Content

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

I applied for the EngD in Games because I am deeply passionate about exploring new technologies for informal education. I would like to design innovative digital games that both educate and entertain people within institutions of informal education, such as museums and cultural organisations. While formal education is often conservative, informal learning can be experimental and innovative. I was interested in studying the effects of digital games on young players, focusing on their learning process.

Where did you complete your placement?

During her doctorate at the Centre for Digital Entertainment, Daniela explored how authenticity and entertainment can coexist in contemporary museums through game creation and game play. She is currently investigating the use of games to stimulate dialogue and social reflection in difficult heritage sites.

Current Employment/Job Title

Research Associate at University of Bath (previous experience: Research, National Trust (5y))

http://www.danieladeangeli.com

2013
Richard Jones

Richard Jones

Research

New VFX Technologies

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

Double Negative

Richard worked alongside VFX studio Double Negative to develop improvements to the liquid simulation toolset for creating turbulent liquid and whitewater effects for feature film visual effects. The current toolset for liquid simulation is built around the creation of simple single-phase liquid motion, such as ocean waves and simple splashes, but struggles to capture the often more exciting mixed air-liquid phenomena of very turbulent fluid splashes and sprays. Therefore the creation of turbulent effects relies very heavily on artistic input and having the experience and intuition to use existing tools in unorthodox ways. By incorporating more physical models for turbulent fluid phenomena into the existing liquid simulation toolset, his project aims to develop techniques to greater capture realistic turbulent fluid effects and allow faster turnover of the highly detailed liquid effects required for feature film.

Current Employment/Job Title

R&D Programmer - Double Negative (previous experience: Research Engineer, Prime Focus World (1y), Research Engineer, Double Negative (4y))

2013
Elena Marimon Munoz

Elena Marimon Munoz

Research

Digital Radiography: Image Acquisition and Scattering Reduction in X-ray imaging

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

An EngD program allows you to work in a research project while offering you an insight and experience in industry. This was a perfect solution for me, as I wanted to continue my studies but wasn't sure about pursuing a career in academia. The CDE programme allowed me to work in a very interesting funded project and provided me with the experience, tools and skills needed to work in both industry and academia. 

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement at Dexela Ltd (Varex Imaging, former PerkinElmer). Varex Imaging is a X-ray imaging solution provider that covers medical to industrial applications. My project explored the image acquisition and image processing areas of digital radiography, by seeking the improvement in the design of a new family of Varex Imaging CMOS X-ray detectors and by developing a method to reduce the scatter contribution in mammography examinations using image post-processing techniques. 

Current Employment/Job Title

Physicist at Unitive Design and Analysis (previous experience: Detector Physicist, Varex Imaging Corporation (6 years))

2013
Fabio Turchet

Fabio Turchet

Research

New VFX Technologies

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

My research project focuses on the simulation of muskuloskeletal systems for the visual effect industry. Movies often features creatures
and digital doubles that have to look real and part of this realism comes from an anatomically correct deformation of soft tissues and skin.

Challenges in the area are represented by the complexity of the many interacting muscles present in the body that have to be simulated numerically and efficiently with methods that take into account collisions, material anisotropy, non-linearity and artistic control.

The Centre for Digital Entertainment enabled me to work on the research in an industrial setting.

Where did you complete your placement?

The Moving Picture Company (MPC)

Current Employment/Job Title

3D Graphics Programmer, Crisalix (previous experience: Research Engineer, Prime Focus World (1y), Research Engineer, MPC (3y))

2012
Alex Gouvatsos

Alex Gouvatsos

Research

3D Storyboarding for Modern Animation

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Being a part of the CDE has been an incredible journey.  I met amazing people, travelled to amazing places and learnt how to be a successful independent researcher.  Having experienced my viva, I feel like I have a more complete understanding of what a doctorate (at least an engineering one) is about. I feel relieved and happy and ready for my next challenge.

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement at Hibbert Ralph Animation.  I plan to keep applying the skills the CDE and Hibbert Ralph Animation empowered me with, while working on impressive films that I love.  I never planned to do a PhD, but when I saw what the EngD offered I immediately applied. With its strong industrial ties, the CDE allowed me to join the industry I loved and carry out research directly within a company.

My research mostly focused around 3D animation pipelines. More specifically, I'm interested in creating an efficient bridge between traditional 2D elements of the animation pipeline such as storyboard drawings and the 3D elements that come later. Apart from developing new algorithms, this also includes understanding what information can be used to make artists more efficient throughout.

I am now working for Double Negative as an R&D Software Developer.

Current Employment/Job Title

Double Negative, R&D Software Developer (previous experience: R&D, Hibbert Ralph Animation (5y))

2012
Dhana Frerichs

Dhana Frerichs

Research

Computer Graphics Simulation of Organic and Inorganic Optical and Morphological Appearance Changes

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was interested in pursuing a doctorate. However, I wasn't sure about the idea of spending so much time in academia without getting any experience in industry. An EngD is a good way to bridge that gap; you are still a student, but you can pick up real world skills and experience working at a company in a professional workplace. It makes the transition back to reality after finishing the EngD that much easier. For myself, the idea of working in the video game industry was an exciting prospect.  Funding security was also a factor for me. Being able to focus on study and research without having to worry about ongoing funding applications is very helpful.​

I am relieved to have finished at last. Finally being done and holding the book in my hands gave me an appreciation for how much work I had put in. At the same time I am sorry to be moving on from the CDE. The CDE has been a great community to be a part of for the last few years and the team has always been very supportive. There has been a great camaraderie among the students; I've made some good friends, met interesting people and learned a lot.

Where did you complete your placement?

For my EngD placement I was working with the video game developer Ninja Theory.

Current Employment/Job Title

Research Engineer, Ninja Theory

2012
Charlotte Hoare

Charlotte Hoare

Research

Exploring synchronous second screen experiences to television

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

BBC R&D

Charlotte was embedded within the user experience group at BBC R&D in Salford. Charlotte's research focused on multi-screen experiences in the living room, specifically looking at the implications for the user. This involves prototyping multi-screen experiences, developing methodologies to evaluate them, and ultimately providing recommendations for designers of future interactive living rooms.

Current Employment/Job Title

Software Engineering Team Lead, BBC

2012
Matthew Thompson

Matthew Thompson

Research

Building abstratable story components with institutions and tropes

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

Sysemia

Computer games and virtual reality environments offer new experiences in interactive entertainment. However, the stories in these new media remain the same: linear and scripted, unaffected by the decisions a player makes. I was looking into ways to create stories that react to a player's actions, in order to create infinitely replayable games and interactive experiences.

Current Employment/Job Title

Lecturer, Bath Spa University

2012
Milto Miltiadou

Milto Miltiadou

Research

Efficient Accumulation Analysis and Visualisation of Full-Waveform LiDAR data in a Volumetric Representation with Applications to Forestry

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

After completing my masters degree, I had a great interest in working for Research and Development in the industry. For that reason, I considered the EngD as a great opportunity. It does not only help you quickly advance your research and technical skills but at the same time you are getting the experience of working within the industry. Additionally, the qualification enhance your prospects for a quick career advancement.

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my main placement at the NERC Airborne Research Facility (ARF) of Plymouth Marine Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Michael Grant. During my placement, I was introduced into the amazing world of Remote Sensing and the probability of using computer graphics and machine learning for tackling environmental issues and consequently benefiting mankind. NERC ARF gave me the opportunity to work with state-of-art data (full-waveform LiDAR data) alongside great researchers and my short placement to Interpine Group Ltd in New Zealand helped me understand the importance of advancing this technology for monitoring forests.

Current Employment/Job Title

Researcher, computer scientist and full-waveform LiDAR analyst, Cyprus University of Technology (previous experience: Research Engineer, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (4y))

2012
Sean Soraghan

Sean Soraghan

Research

A Perceptually Motivated Approach to Timbre Representation and Visualisation

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Current software interfaces for digital music production facilitate the design and manipulation of widely varying musical timbres. However, their interfaces are often complex and technical, presenting a cognitive barrier to some users. This research project aims at developing a perception-based approach to interface design by exploiting synaesthesic correlations between vision and hearing.

An EngD offers a great combination of self-motivated academic research and industry-led practical experience. With the CDE there is a wealth of opportunity, with courses available from two excellent universities, as well as many world-renowned industry contacts.  

Where did you complete your placement?

My placement during the EngD was at ROLI.  ROLI are a design-led technology company based in Dalston, London. Founded in 2009 by Roland Lamb, they make hardware and software products and services designed to increase the bandwidth of interaction between people and technology.

I recently joined Audiokinetic in Montreal, Canada, as a software engineer. Looking ahead, the main aim is to continue making fun and/or useful interactive things.

Current Employment/Job Title

AudioKinetic / Software Engineer (previous experience: Research Engineer & R&D Software Engineer Contractor, ROLI (4y))

2012
Hashim Yaqub

Hashim Yaqub

Research

Reducing simulator sickness while maintaining presence in first-person head-mounted VR applications

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

My research involves evaluating the effectiveness of consumer off-the-shelf HMDs in Virtual Maritime Training.

Where did you complete your placement?

I am based at BMT Defence Services, Bath, with a department who specialises in developing training solutions for naval platforms. My work involves using new consumer VR technologies like the Oculus Rift in training scenario's which include platform familiarisation, maintenance, and emergency procedures. Currently my projects are extending to having multiple users interacting with each other in the same environment via these devices.

Current Employment/Job Title

Unity 3D Developer, BMT Defence Services

2012
Daniel Finnegan

Daniel Finnegan

Research

Compensating for Distance Compression in Virtual Audiovisual Environments

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

At the time I applied, the EngD seemed like a great introduction to research. I wasn’t sure if academia was for me, but the EngD allowed me to engage in research while advancing my practical software engineering skills. Over time, my interests changed a little, and I leaned more towards research and academia.

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement with Somethin' Else Sound Directions in London under the supervision of Mr Rob McHardy, Prof. Eamonn O'Neill and Dr. Michael Proulx.

I’m looking forward to continuing my research into spatial audio engineering as well as human centred studies focused on perception in VR.

I am currently working as Assistant Professor, Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd. I am also Co-director Echo Games, a community interest company developing games and interactive experiences for museums.

Current Employment/Job Title

Assistant Professor, Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd (previous experience: Research Engineer, Somethin' else (3y), Research Associate, CAMERA, University of Bath (2y))

http://people.bath.ac.uk/djf32

2012
Andreea Bizdideanu

Andreea Bizdideanu

Research

Strategies for reconstructing and reusing light transport paths in dynamic environments.

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

I discovered my passion for light transport simulation during my employment at PERCRO, a laboratory of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, when I came across articles like “A shading model for atmospheric scattering considering luminous intensity distribution of light sources”, “Display of the earth taking into account atmospheric scattering” and “A layered, heterogeneous reflectance model for acquiring and rendering human skin”. As a computer scientist I was simply fascinated to observe the extent to which the behaviour of light could be simulated on a computer. I had to learn more about light and the simulation of its behaviour and that meant, beyond any doubt, pursuing a doctorate.

Finding the Centre for Digital Entertainment was a great joy for me as realistic image synthesis was one of the major research topics stated in the call for applications. Moreover, being fully funded entailed no other concerns than those related strictly to my research. Indeed, the generous grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council supported both my studies and the deepening of my knowledge about cultures. It was truly extraordinary to partake, as a student, in events such as world-renowned conferences and attend expert discussions around the globe. Equally precious was to immerse myself in the English culture and use my travels to learn more about other cultures around the world.

Like Saint-Exupéry advised, I shall use the experiences acquired throughout my doctorate like a scenery, without complaining of my foundation, without regretting the difficulties or what I have conquered, for today is born out of my entire past.

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement with Optis, a software development company with considerable experience in the field of optical simulation. I discovered Optis at SIGGRAPH 2013 Exhibition and it represented an extraordinary opportunity to shape and conduct my research.

The focus of my research was on developing an apparatus of path manipulation strategies that extends bidirectional path tracing to reuse light transport paths in the temporal domain. Despite being one of the most robust state-of-the-art light transport algorithms, bidirectional path tracing was designed for static scenes and thus it discards the generated paths immediately after the evaluation of their contributions. Limiting the lifespan of paths to a generation-evaluation cycle imposes a static use of paths and of sampling techniques. The path manipulation algorithm harnesses the potential of the sampling techniques to supplant the static manipulation of paths with a generation-evaluation-reuse cycle. An intra-subpath connectivity strategy was devised to reconnect the segregated chains of the subpaths invalidated by the geometric transformations of the scene. Successful intra-subpath connections generate subpaths in multiple pieces by reusing subpath chains from prior frames. Subpaths are reconstructed generically, regardless of the subpath or scene dynamism type and without the need for predefined animation paths. By reconstructing and reusing subpaths, the path manipulation algorithm obviates the regeneration of the entire path collection, reduces the computational load of the original algorithm and supports scene dynamism.

Current Employment/Job Title

2012
Alistair Barber

Alistair Barber

Research

Modern Approaches to Camera Tracking Within the Visual Effects Pipeline

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

I chose to do an EngD with the CDE whilst working on my MSc in Computer Vision. I was keen to see how work in this field could be applied to solve real-world problems, and I've always been interested in film production and computer graphics - so the CDE offered an ideal opportunity. I knew that I wanted to continue my academic career and research, so it was great to be able to do this and also get practical experience in an incredibly exciting industry. 

Where did you complete your placement?

I've had an amazing 4-and-a-bit years with the CDE and Double Negative. It's been a great privilege not only to develop exciting new ideas and techniques with leading academics, but also to be able to put them into practice with Double Negative on Hollywood blockbusters as they were being produced! My work looked at the process of Camera Tracking, which is a huge area of research within the computer vision community, but for various reasons is a fairly labour-intensive and time-consuming process in VFX production. We took a look at the overall pipeline and gathered statistics on the impact that different types of footage have on the time taken to produce a VFX shot. We also looked at how new types of hardware could be used on set to measure camera movement, and developed new computer vision techniques to handle footage that contained large amounts of motion blur. 

Current Employment/Job Title

Software Engineer - Computer Vision & Visual Effects, Mill Film (previous experience: Research Engineer, Double Negative (4y), Software Engineer, The Foundry (2y))

http://www.alastairbarber.com/

2012
Oliver Gingrich

Oliver Gingrich

Research

Evoking Presence on Pepper's Ghost Displays

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

The combination of a top tier corporate industry network and academic excellence at one of the UK’s foremost centres for media, entertainment and postproduction as well as the close relationship with the NCCA, the National Centre for Computer Animation, made the Centre for Digital Entertainment the obvious choice for an industry oriented engineering doctorate. My research focuses on conceptions of presence in virtual environments, specifically in the context of Pepper’s ghost, a Victorian parlour illusion that has been frequently employed as a virtual reality interface. Analysing this concept across three conceptual pillars, I created three practical applications in the field of Media Art. My research investigates the effect of external factors on presence, seeking to optimise the impact of virtual representations on Pepper’s ghost displays. Working within a creative and academic environment of like-minded researchers broadened my horizon enormously. Coming from a purely artistic and creative background with an MA in Fine Arts, my technical knowledge improved throughout my curriculum from absolute novice, to reasonably skilled. I am now in a position to program, and design, create technical diagrams and to approach creative challenges from an academic-analytical as much as from a conceptual-technical angle. My national and international network has massively profited from the activity. At the same time, my artistic standing with Analema Group has gained wide visibility with shows at key venues such as the Roundhouse or Union Chapel. As a centre of worldwide excellence between industry and academia, the CDE is unique as international hub for knowledge creation in providing skills, expertise, and academic support. With its unparalleled support for personal and academic development, the CDE opens doors for creative engagement, facilitating professional discourse between industry experts and academia. Combining technical know-how with a network of the UK’s foremost media professionals, the Centre for Digital Entertainment can be regarded as the country’s top graduate institution for media expertise.

 

Where did you complete your placement?

MDH Hologram, formerly Musion Systems, is international market leader in holographic projection. As hub in an international network of distributors, London is the centre for operations and content creation. As Art Director, I oversee a team of people, assuring quality control and impact. My corporate environment allowed me gain insight into production processes that would not have been accessible to me, my academic standing substantially influenced my industrial practise. Being able to engage with fundamental factors of my practise analytically enriched and deepened my understanding, leading to optimisations in key areas such as immersive sound, interaction design and visual optimisations. At the same time, my standing within the company improved during this period: Our team valued my sincere interest in core-elements of our corporate practise. My promotion to art director was a direct outcome of my active engagement with production processes fuelled by academic research at the Centre for Digital Entertainment.

Current Employment/Job Title

Postdoctoral Research for Media & Arts Practice - NCCA Bournemouth University (previous experience: Artist / Producer, Analema Group (8y), Creative Director MDH Hologram (10y))

www.olivergingrich.com

2012
Kwamina Edum-Fotwe

Kwamina Edum-Fotwe

Research

Procedural Reconstruction of Architectural Parametric Models from Airborne and Ground Laser Scans

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

Cityscape

Recovery of Sparse Architectural Models from Aerial and Ground-Based LiDAR (Point-Clouds) for use in Interactive Visualisation and Simulation. The focus of my project was the efficient recovery of sparse architectural models from aerial and ground-based LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scans. The key objective is to be able to turn unstructured point-clouds into clean, lightweight 3D models for use in Interactive Visualisation and Simulation. The research relies heavily on Computer Graphics, Image Processing and Data-Driven Procedural Modelling.

Current Employment/Job Title

2011
Lisa Haskell

Lisa Haskell

Research

Participatory Design and Free and Open Source Software in the Not for Profit Sector –the Hublink Project

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

It has been a fantastic privilege to be a CDE Research Engineer. For me, it has been an opportunity to bring together my practical and academic interests, and work on a long-term project with real-world impact.

It has not always been easy to balance the competing requirements of academic work and practice-based research and writing up at the end felt like a very long haul. But being a Research Engineer is a fantastic route to a doctorate in which you have to grow as a person, as a practitioner and as an academic. The staff, supervisors and fellow students have been a great support.

Attending workshops and conferences internationally has expanded and developed my work enormously. I have had the opportunity to present papers and travel to workshops as far afield as Windhoek in Namibia, as well as closer to home in Belgium, Denmark and Ireland, all supported by CDE.

My own experience has left me fully in support of practice-based and industry-based doctoral study, despite its challenges. I look forward to taking my research further, but will miss the support of CDE and I'm hoping I can give back to the programme as much as I can, and keep in touch with stuff and students.

Where did you complete your placement?

My placement was at Arts Catalyist - London

My Research was about Participatory Design, and the benefits that using Free and Open Source software can offer to arts and community organisations. As part of my research, I have developed and support a case management information system for a consortium of voluntary sector organisations in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. I recently presented a case-study at the bi-annual Participatory Design Conference, and as part of my public engagement activities, I help run a 'Code Club' in a Lambeth primary school.

I am now working as Senior Drupal Developer for NDP Studio.

Current Employment/Job Title

NDP studio / Senior Drupal Developer (previous experience: Research Engineer, Arts Catalyst (4y), PT Lecturer, Bournemouth University (1y))

http://www.artscatalyst.org/

2011
Ralph Potter

Ralph Potter

Research

Programming models for heterogeneous systems with application to computer graphics

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

Codeplay

SYCL/C++ combination and HSA based ray tracing.

Current Employment/Job Title

Engineer, Low Level Graphics at Samsung Electronics (previous experience: Research Engineer, Codeplay (2y))

2011
David Gillespie

David Gillespie

Research

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

National Museums Liverpool.

Three dimensional (3D) laser scanning has been adopted from the engineering and aeronautical industry and is an invaluable tool for the documentation of objects within museum collections (La Pensée, 2008). The datasets created via close range laser scanning are extremely accurate and the created 3D dataset allows for a more detailed analysis in comparison to other documentation technologies such as photography. The dataset can be used for a range of different applications including: documentation; archiving; surface monitoring; replication; gallery interactives; educational sessions; conservation and visualization. However, the novel nature of a 3D dataset is presenting a rather unique challenge with respect to its sharing and dissemination.

The research that is being undertaken at the National Museums Liverpool (NML): focuses on both the dissemination and sharing of high resolution 3D cultural heritage artefacts via the internet and WebGL but it is also undertaking the novel challenge of creating textures for these 3D artefacts. Colour information that can be captured for an artefact via a laser scanner or other techniques (i.e. photogrammetry) can be flawed; where they can contain visual artefacts and they may not capture a full visual representation of the original artefact. The research with NML will focus on the use of 3D texture synthesis instead of 2D textures. Attempting to resolve some of the issues surrounding computation and memory required for the synthesis of such textures.

Current Employment/Job Title

Research Associate of Software Development, Manchester Metropolitan University (previous experience: Research Engineer, National Museums Liverpool (5y), R&D Software Developer, OpenShadow (2y))

2010
David Greer

David Greer

Research

Physics-based Character Locomotion Control with Large Simulation Time Steps

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

I had long been interested in working in the video games industry, but I was also interested in doing a doctorate, and couldn’t decide which option I wanted to pursue.  When I found out about the CDE, it was the perfect solution for me.

I found my time with the CDE a wonderful challenge and hugely rewarding, and I would definitely recommend it.

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement at Natural Motion.

Physically simulated locomotion allows rich and varied interactions with environments and other characters.  Previous academic work has produced effective control strategies, but typically uses very small simulation time steps with computational requirements which limit practicality for interactive applications.  This research focuses on three major areas of work - trajectory optimization to provide physically valid motions suitable for tracking in simulation, a sampling-based approach to generate open loop control policies, and feedback control generated using evolutionary algorithms to correct for deviations from the ideal motion.  Together, these three approaches allow successful control for a walking motion at 60 time steps per second, with control and simulation time of less than 1ms per time step, which means that the technique could plausibly be used within the demanding performance constraints of real time applications such as games.  Accurate and computationally inexpensive prediction of controller stability was also demonstrated using machine learning, which will allow high level control strategies to be explored in future.

I am now working at Klarismo, a company which performs image analysis and segmentation on MRI data to determine quantitative information such as muscle and fat volumes.

Current Employment/Job Title

Software Engineer at Amazon Game Services (previous experience: Research Engineer, NaturalMotion (5y), Software Engineer, Klarismo (1y))

https://www.klarismo.com/company

2010
Tara Douglas

Tara Douglas

Research

Tales of the Tribes: Animation as a Tool for Indigenous Representation

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

I completed my research thesis ‘Tales of the Tribes: Animation as a Tool for Indigenous Representation’. You can read more about my project here

 I was lucky enough to visit Papua New Guinea during my EngD. Find out more about my experience within the CDE Blog.

Where did you complete your placement?

West Highland Animation and Adivasi Arts Trust

Current Employment/Job Title

Secretary at Adivasi Arts Trust

2010
Charalampos (Babis) Koniaris

Charalampos (Babis) Koniaris

Research

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

Texture mapping is a standard technique in computer graphics that is commonly used to map complex surface detail -in the form of images- to 3D models so that the latter appear more visually complex than they really are. A drawback is that when models animate, parts of them stretch or compress, and at those parts the mapped surface detail behaves like rubber due to distortion in the mapping introduced by the deformation. In this project, we develop methods to control this behaviour so that we can represent surface detail with heterogeneous elasticity characteristics that properly correspond to the portrayed materials. 

My Placement was completed at Disney Research.

Current Employment/Job Title

Post Doctoral Associate at Disney Research

2010
Chris Lewin

Chris Lewin

Research

Constraint Based Simulation of Soft and Rigid Bodies

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement at EA Games.

Rigid body physics has become a standard feature in modern videogames. However, very few things in the real world behave in a rigid way; even metal-framed buildings and vehicles will deform under enough force. My project centered around efficiently simulating soft body behaviour in ways that are appropriate for use in games.

The requirements of high performance and robustness tend to expose weaknesses in the standard implicit force-based methods; instead we have adopted a fast position-based approach to simulating the deformation of finite element meshes.

Current Employment/Job Title

Software Engineer at Improbable (previous experience: Research Engineer & Software Engineer, Electronic Arts (EA) (8y))

https://www.ea.com/en-gb

2010
Jake Hobbs

Jake Hobbs

Research

Audience Engagement & Monetisation of Creative Content in Digital Environments: A creative SME Perspective

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

The CDE offers a fantastic opportunity to carry out academic research in an industrial setting, all the while providing a great network of support that enable you as a researcher and practitioner to grow professionally.

Being part of the CDE gave me the opportunity to work on live projects and in turn access to a great support network within the broader cohort of students. Since completing my research in 2010 I have been working full time with WÖNKY, where I head up the company's digital output.

Where did you complete your placement?

My research encompasses a practice-led project undertaken over a four-year period at a small creative animation studio exploring the experiences of creative SMEs in delivering original content in highly competitive digital environments. With a theoretical grounding in engagement this study explores the limitations facing creative SMEs in successfully delivering original content and the methods and practices that may help circumvent them.

I completed my placement at Wonky.

Since finishing the EngD I have been working as Head of Digital at WONKY and Online Editor for 'Show me the Animation'.  I will soon be moving on to a new role as I have recently accepted a Lecturing position within the Creative Computing Course at Bath Spa University.

Current Employment/Job Title

Lecturer - Creative Computing - Bath Spa University (previous experience: Research Engineer & Digital Developer/Producer, Wonky Films (7y), Changemaker Producer, The Childrens Media Conference (2y))

https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/our-people/jake-hobbs/

2009
Steve Willey

Steve Willey

Research

Improving the Pipeline for Stereo Post-Production

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

Completing the EngD has been a huge challenge, but definitely a worthwhile​ one.  Thanks to the CDE I have had the opportunity to research while gaining valuable experience in the industry of VFX for film and TV as well as the chance to attend conferences around the world.  I have also had the chance to meet a lot of great people in academia and industry thanks to the crossover provided by the EngD

Where did you complete your placement?

Double Negative

There are many considerations that must go into making a 3D film that aren't a problem with standard 2D ones.  We investigate the problems of colour mismatch, vertical alignment, and disparity map generation while providing an in-depth study into the further requirements of a 3D film.  In addition, we introduce several tools that integrate into the existing post-production pipeline in order to improve it's capabilities when dealing with stereo images.

Current Employment/Job Title

Back End Engineer at Thought Machine (previous experience: Researcher and R&D Programmer, Double Negative (8y), 2D Software Developer, Milk Visual Effects (1y))

2009
Lindsey Howell

Lindsey Howell

Research

Investigating how computational tools can improve the production process of stop-motion animation

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

The experience of working on industrial research and working towards academic goals helped to develop a number of skills:

  • I now have a deep understanding of the animation industry and of production processes. The opportunity to view professional work first-hand was invaluable.

  • I have learnt to understand academic papers and translate the content into working code.

  • My writing skills have improved enormously.

  • My project management skills have been developed with the management of complex research projects involving multiple parties.

  • My presentation skills have improved, with numerous presentations and to far larger audiences than I had ever presented to before.

Overall, I am much more confident in my abilities to rigorously research a project and I feel capable of discussing research projects in both academic and industrial environments. It has developed my ability to articulate my ideas clearly and to think on the spot.

I now have a much deeper understanding of the complexities of industry-university partnerships. It is a complicated balance and I feel well informed about the benefits and the challenges involved. I have learnt that conferences and meetings with like-minded people can really help and I found it important to engage with others.

Where did you complete your placement?

I completed my placement at Aardman Animations.

My research was about the development of technical tools for traditional stop-motion animation production. Technological methods must ensure that the traditional hand-crafted look is retained. My work involved researching and developing computational tools that could be used to make improvements to the production pipeline.

Aardman Animations was my host company. They create films, short-form animation, television series and commercials using both computer-generated and stop-motion animation. Their most famous characters are Wallace and Gromit and Morph. I was based in the commercials computer graphics department and my supervisor Philip Child is a Senior Technical Developer within that team. The main areas that I researched during my EngD were:

  • Solutions for rig removal in post-production.

  • Solutions for fixing set shift.

Solutions for simulating plasticine materials computationally

Current Employment/Job Title

Senior Lecturer at the University of West England (previous experience: Researcher, Aardman Animations (4y))




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