Meet Mike

"Your contribution has been nothing short of remarkable and I can not express my appreciation enough for your continued help, support and professionalism."
Mike Seymour
Researcher, University of Sydney MOTUS Lab

We have been working with Mike Seymour on a special project to share the latest research into interactive realtime photoreal faces in new forms of Human Computer Interfaces (CHI).

Over the last two years Mike has assembled a global consortium to produce and study a digital human avatar with his likeness. This landmark research tackles the behaviorial and technical challenges around CG representation of human faces often referred to as "the uncanny valley". The consortium includes Epic Games, The Wikihuman Project, 3Lateral, Cubic Motion, Tencent, Disney Research Zurich and Loom.AI and has produced what was (at least briefly) the most comprehensive scan of a human head and what could still be the most convincing digital avatar. You be the judge.

Digital Mike is puppeteered in realtime using facial tracking so the team can stage and study non-scripted human conversations. Real Mike's profile as a journalist, who has covered the VFX industry for over 20 years (fxguide, WIRED) means that many CG pioneers and feature film VFX supervisors know him personally. This provides a unique opportunity to put digital Mike under intense scrutiny and study the broader commercial and cultural ramifications of avatar-based communication.

"Meet Mike" was launched at the SIGGRAPH 2017 "VR Village" as an immersive interactive experience. Over 5 days at SIGGRAPH the team taped what was essentially nine hours of a live talk show. Mike interviewed 19 guests onstage  with the CG result equivalent to film VFX quality of five years ago. The difference being that this show ran in realtime at 60 frames per second on the big screens and 90 frames per second for VR spectators.

From creative & technical troubleshooting in the University of Sydney lab through to staging the show at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, we've been proud to play a small role in this mammoth effort to explore and share the bleeding edge of digital humans research. Michela wrote up her first encounter with digital Mike and we will be posting further updates as the research continues.

UPDATE - Watch "Behind the Scenes at #MeetMike" for backstage interviews with the team.

The Gift

An immersive, interactive installation project that celebrates the significant and generous gift by Bronius (Bob) Sredersas, a Lithuanian migrant and steel worker whose personal art collection became the impetus for the establishment of Wollongong Art Gallery.

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Sony Interactive Entertainment Knack-a-thon

Michela spent April 2018 in San Diego directing a special project for Sony Interactive Entertainment.

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