CDE

2012
Oliver Gingrich

Oliver Gingrich

Research

Evoking Presence on Peppers 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

Art Director at MDH Hologram

www.olivergingrich.com

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

2012
Daniel Finnegan

Daniel Finnegan

Research

Compensating for Distance Compression in Virtual Audiovisual Environments'

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

At the time, 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

 

Current Employment/Job Title

Research Associate at the University of Bath

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

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

http://www.artscatalyst.org/

2010
Dr Tara Douglas

Dr 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 projet 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

2010
Charalampos (Babis) Koniaris

Charalampos (Babis) Koniaris

Research

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

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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

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

Current Employment/Job Title

Head of Digital WONKY / Online Editor Show Me The Animation

http://wonkyfilms.com/

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

Working at Klarismo

https://www.klarismo.com/company

2010
Chris Lewin

Chris Lewin

Research

Constraint Based Simulation of Soft and Rigid Bodies

Why did you choose the EngD / CDE?

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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

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

2009
Lindsey Howell

Lindsey Howell

Research

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




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