EECS Colloquium

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 – 5:00 pm

Paul Debevec

Google VR & USC ICT

Paul Debevec speaks on Creating Photoreal Digital Actors (and Environments) for Movies, Games, and Virtual Reality, 8/29/18 (Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)


I will present recent work from USC ICT and Google VR for recording and rendering photorealistic actors and environments for movies, games, and virtual reality.  The Light Stage facial scanning systems are geodesic spheres of inward-pointing LED lights which have been used to help create digital actors based on real people in movies such as Avatar, Benjamin Button, Maleficent, Furious 7, Blade Runner: 2049, and Ready Player One.  Light Stages can also reproduce recorded omnidirectional lighting environments and have recently been extended with multispectral LED lights to accurately mimic the color rendition properties of daylight, incandescent, and mixed lighting environments.  Our full-body Light Stage 6 system was used in conjunction with natural language processing and an automultiscopic projector array to record and project interactive hologram-like conversations with survivors of the Holocaust.  I will conclude the talk by presenting Google VR’s “Welcome to Light Fields“, the first downloadable virtual reality light field experience which records and displays 360 degree photographic environments that you can move around inside of with six degrees of freedom, creating VR experiences which are far more comfortable and immersive.


Paul Debevec is a Senior Scientist at Google VR and an adjunct research professor at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies in Los Angeles.  His 1996 UC Berkeley Ph.D. thesis under Prof. Jitendra Malik presented Façade, an image-based modeling and rendering system for creating photoreal architectural models from photographs. Using Façade he led the creation of virtual cinematography of the Berkeley campus for his 1997 film The Campanile Movie whose techniques were used to create virtual backgrounds in The Matrix. Subsequently, Debevec pioneered high dynamic range image-based lighting techniques in his films Rendering with Natural Light (1998), Fiat Lux (1999), and The Parthenon (2004).   At USC ICT, he continued the development the Light Stage devices for recording the geometry and appearance of people and objects which were first used to create photoreal digital actors for Spider-Man 2 and Superman Returns, and helped create new 3D Display devices for telepresence and teleconferencing. Debevec received ACM SIGGRAPH’s first Significant New Researcher Award in 2001, a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award in 2010, and the SMPTE Progress Medal in 2017.  Debevec co-authored the 2005 book High Dynamic Range Imaging, chaired the SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival, and has served as Vice President of ACM SIGGRAPH and co-chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sci-Tech Council.

Video of this Presentation