Researchers invent system for 3-D reconstruction of sparse facial hair and skin

Aug 10, 2012
Coupled 3D reconstruction of sparse facial hair and skin applied to various different facial hairstyles. Image: Disney Research

Researchers at Disney Research, Zürich, ETH Zürich, and Cornell University have invented a system to digitize facial hair and skin. Capturing facial skin and geometry is a fundamental technology for a variety of computer-based special effects for movies. Conventional face capturing is well established and widely utilized in the entertainment industry to capture a three-dimensional model of an actor's face. However, up to now, no method was capable of reconstructing facial hair or even handling it appropriately. This omission is surprising as facial hair is an important component of our popular culture.

The system developed by the Disney Research Laboratory in Zürich constitutes a significant technical breakthrough in the field of digitizing human faces and was presented at ACM SIGGRAPH, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. "Our method captures individual strands of facial hair and stores them separately from the actual human face. This approach allows us to 'shave' people with facial hair virtually with the computer." said Thabo Beeler, a computer scientist at Disney Research, Zürich, who is the main inventor of the technology.

The system employs several consumer-grade photo cameras to capture a face in a fraction of a second. The method then automatically detects hairs in the captured images. These hairs are being tracked and followed in the input images, much like we follow a path on a map with our fingers. A mathematical method called multi-view stereo (MVS) reconstructs them in three dimensions. The trick the researchers applied is to remove the hair strands from the input images similar to an artist painting over parts of a picture. This process makes the 3D skin surface to look as if it were digitally shaved. The system was applied to a large variety of different facial hair styles, ranging from designer stubbles all the way to wild mustaches, to demonstrate its robustness. The produced results look very compelling.

Prof. Markus Gross, director of Disney Research, Zürich, stated, "The long-term goal of our research is to make facial animation and special effects more realistic and ultimately indistinguishable from reality. This method is going to be a very important step toward this long term goal".

Explore further: Computerized emotion detector

More information: For more information, please visit the web site at www.disneyresearch.com/researc… onFacialHair_drz.htm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new window to the face

Aug 09, 2011

The human face is a complicated thing—powered by 52 muscles; contoured by the nose, eyebrows, and other features; and capable of an almost infinite range of expressions, from joy to anger to sorrow to ...

Improving security with face recognition technology

Nov 10, 2009

A number of U.S. states now use facial recognition technology when issuing drivers licenses. Similar methods are also used to grant access to buildings and to verify the identities of international travelers. ...

Recommended for you

Computerized emotion detector

17 hours ago

Face recognition software measures various parameters in a mug shot, such as the distance between the person's eyes, the height from lip to top of their nose and various other metrics and then compares it with photos of people ...

Cutting the cloud computing carbon cost

Sep 12, 2014

Cloud computing involves displacing data storage and processing from the user's computer on to remote servers. It can provide users with more storage space and computing power that they can then access from anywhere in the ...

Teaching computers the nuances of human conversation

Sep 12, 2014

Computer scientists have successfully developed programs to recognize spoken language, as in automated phone systems that respond to voice prompts and voice-activated assistants like Apple's Siri.

Mapping the connections between diverse sets of data

Sep 12, 2014

What is a map? Most often, it's a visual tool used to demonstrate the relationship between multiple places in geographic space. They're useful because you can look at one and very quickly pick up on the general ...

User comments : 0