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

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
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.<o:p></o:p>

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

BMT Defence Services

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

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

I'm currently working at Foundry - a London-headquartered software development company that makes industry leading software such as Nuke, Modo and Katana.

http://www.alastairbarber.com/

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 at the Laboratory of Remote Sensing and Geo-Environment, which is part of the Eratosthenes Research Centre at Cyprus University of Technology.

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.<o:p></o:p>

Where did you complete your placement?

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

Current Employment/Job Title

Ninja Theory / Research Engineer

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

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
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

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 Computer Course at Bath Spa University. 

Current Employment/Job Title

Lecturer - Creative Computer - Bath Spa University

https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/

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

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

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
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

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

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

Double Negative




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