Computational Narrative


Mubbasir Kapadia (Rutgers University)
Steven Poulakos (Disney Research Zurich)
Markus Gross (Disney Research Zurich)
Bob Sumner (Disney Research Zurich)

ACM SIGGRAPH 2017 Courses 2017

July 30, 2017

Despite the maturity in solutions for animating expressive virtual characters, innovations realizing the creative intent of story writers have yet to make the same strides. This problem is further exacerbated for interactive narrative content, such as games. The key challenge is to provide an accessible, yet expressive interface for story authoring that enables the rapid prototyping, iteration, and deployment of narrative concepts, while facilitate free-form interaction. In this short course, we present the potential of computational intelligence to empower authors and content creators in creating their own interactive animated stories. There are 4 key contributions towards realizing this goal. First, we introduce a novel event-centric representation of narrative atoms which serve as the building blocks of any story. Second, we present a graphical platform for story architects to craft their own unique story worlds. Third, we present CANVAS, a computer-assisted visual authoring tool for synthesizing multi-character animations from sparsely- specified narrative events. In a process akin to storyboarding, authors lay out the key plot points in a story, and our system automatically fills in the missing details to synthesize a 3D animation that meets author constraints. Fourth, we present extensions to our logical formalisms to enable the transformation of a passive narrative into an interactive story, and how computational intelligence may be leveraged to identify and automatically resolve conflicts in the story. We analyze the authoring complexity of different story formalisms to present the benefits and tradeoffs of each. This course targets both Basic and Intermediate level attendees, with a preliminary background knowledge of Computer Animation and Artificial Intelligence recommended.

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