Disney Research

Abstract

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Animated animatronic figures are a unique way to give physical presence to a character. However, their movement and expressions are often limited due to mechanical constraints. In this paper, we propose a complete process for augmenting physical avatars using projector-based illumination, significantly increasing their expressiveness. Given an input animation, the system decomposes the motion into low-frequency motion that can be physically reproduced by the animatronic head and high-frequency details that are added using projected shading. At the core is a spatio-temporal optimization process that compresses the motion in gradient space, ensuring faithful motion replay while respecting the physical limitations of the system. We also propose a complete multi-camera and projection system, including a novel defocused projection and subsurface scattering compensation scheme. The result of our system is a highly expressive physical avatar that features facial details and motion otherwise unattainable due to physical constraints.

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