Digital Domain Head of Software R&D Doug Roble, and for the first time, his virtual avatar DigiDoug, presented a talk at TED2019 on what it takes to create a digital human. DigiDoug is the industry-leading work of the Digital Human Group, a unit within global visual effects studio Digital Domain overseen by VFX industry veterans Darren Hendler and Doug Roble. The group is focused on the creation of digital humans, creatures and characters for feature films, live real time events and new technology applications.
Digital Domain has delivered innovative and stunning visuals for hundreds of films and experiences, leading the industry in digital humans. The studio turned Josh Brolin’s performance into lead CG villain Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War,” which received the trifecta of Academy Award, BAFTA and VES Best Visual Effects nominations, and several VES Awards, including for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature and Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature. Two of the studio’s first digital humans were Academy Award-winner “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which aged Brad Pitt backward as a believable CG human, and Tupac’s hologram appearing at Coachella.
DigiDoug uses Digital Domain’s real-time, marker-less, minimally-rigged, single-camera facial animation system. Utilizing new techniques combined with machine learning, DigiDoug is a glimpse into the future of what is possible for live, photorealistic, virtual human performances and digital presences. To demonstrate how quickly digital characters can change, DigiDoug morphed into character Elbor, a play on Doug Roble’s last name.
“Originally built for entertainment purposes as a new tool for storytellers and filmmakers, other applications for this technology immediately surfaced. The work from the Digital Human Group will change communication and human interactions forever,” said John Fragomeni, President, Digital Domain.
Digital Domain and Digital Human Group partners involved with the creation of DigiDoug include
- Vision and Graphics Lab, USC Institute for Creative Technologies, to capture Doug’s facial detail in high resolution
- Unreal Engine from Epic Games, the real time engine used to render DigiDoug and Elbor
- NVIDIA, for graphics processing units for rendering and machine learning
- Dimensional Imaging(DI4D™), to capture Doug’s facial movements
- Xsens, a motion capture system to capture Doug’s body movements
- IKINEMA, streams, retargets and cleans Doug’s body performance and synchronises movements onto DigiDoug and Elbor in real-time
- Manus VR, gloves used to capture Doug’s hand and finger movements in real time
- Fox VFX Lab, the helmet camera system to capture data for training and use on stage for real time performance.
To view Doug Roble’s 2019 TED talk, and his live digital human DigiDoug:
About Digital Domain:
Digital Domain creates transportive experiences that entertain, inform and inspire. Throughout the last quarter of a century, the studio has grown to lead the visual effects industry, expanding globally into digital humans, virtual production, previsualization and virtual reality, and adding commercials, game cinematics and episodics to its robust film roster. Digital Domain’s rich legacy consists of hundreds of blockbuster feature films for every major studio and thousands of commercials, music videos, game cinematics and digital content by world-renowned directors and brands.
A creative force in visual effects and premium content, Digital Domain and its predecessor entities, have brought artistry and technology to films including “Titanic,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and blockbusters “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ready Player One.” Its artists have won more than 100 major awards, including Academy Awards, Clios, BAFTA awards and Cannes Lions.
Digital Domain has successfully become the first independent visual effects studio to enter Greater China. In 2017, Digital Domain launched in Hyderabad. In 2018, Digital Domain acquired one of China’s VR hardware equipment pioneers and leaders – VR Technology Holdings Ltd, Shenzhen (“3Glasses”).
Digital Domain has locations in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Montreal, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taipei and Hyderabad. Digital Domain Holdings Limited is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (stock code: 547).
SOURCE Digital Domain
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.