SIAT Faculty Publications

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Incorporating Characteristics of Human Creativity into an Evolutionary Art Algorithm

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

A perceived limitation of evolutionary art and design algorithms is that they rely on human intervention; the artist selects the most aesthetically pleasing variants of one generation to produce the next. This paper discusses how computer generated art and design can become more creatively human-like with respect to both process and outcome. As an example of a step in this direction, we present an algorithm that overcomes the above limitation by employing an automatic fitness function. The goal is to evolve abstract portraits of Darwin, using our 2nd generation fitness function which rewards genomes that not just produce a likeness of Darwin but exhibit certain strategies characteristic of human artists. We note that in human creativity, change is less choosing amongst randomly generated variants and more capitalizing on the associative structure of a conceptual network to hone in on a vision. We discuss how to achieve this fluidity algorithmically.

Document type: 
Article

Perceptually Valid Facial Expressions for Character-Based Applications

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009-01-14
Abstract: 

This paper addresses the problem of creating facial expression of mixed emotions in a perceptually valid way. The research has been done in the context of a “game-like” health and education applications aimed at studying social competency and facial expression awareness in autistic children as well as native language learning, but the results can be applied to many other applications such as games with need for dynamic facial expressions or tools for automating the creation of facial animations. Most existing methods for creating facial expressions of mixed emotions use operations like averaging to create the combined effect of two universal emotions. Such methods may be mathematically justifiable but are not necessarily valid from a perceptual point of view. The research reported here starts by user experiments aiming at understanding how people combine facial actions to express mixed emotions, and how the viewers perceive a set of facial actions in terms of underlying emotions. Using the results of these experiments and a three-dimensional emotion model, we associate facial actions to dimensions and regions in the emotion space, and create a facial expression based on the location of the mixed emotion in the three-dimensional space. We call these regionalized facial actions “facial expression units.”

Document type: 
Article

Rembrandt's Textural Agency: A Shared Perspective in Visual Art and Science

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010-04
Abstract: 

This interdisciplinary paper hypothesizes that Rembrandt developed new painterly techniques — novel to the early modern period — in order to engage and direct the gaze of the observer. Though these methods were not based on scientific evidence at the time, we show that they nonetheless are consistent with a contemporary understanding of human vision. Here we propose that artists in the late ‘early modern’ period developed the technique of textural agency — involving selective variation in image detail — to guide the observer’s eye and thereby influence the viewing experience. The paper begins by establishing the well-known use of textural agency among modern portrait artists, before considering the possibility that Rembrandt developed these techniques in his late portraits in reaction to his Italian contemporaries. A final section brings the argument full circle, with the presentation of laboratory evidence that Rembrandt’s techniques indeed guide the modern viewer’s eye in the way we propose.

Document type: 
Article

3D natural emulation design approach to virtual communities

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010-05-31
Abstract: 

The design goal for OnLive’s Internet-based Virtual Community system was to develop avatars and virtual communities where the participants sense a tele-presence – that they are really there in the virtual space with other people. This collective sense of "being-there" does not happen over the phone or with teleconferencing; it is a new and emerging phenomenon, unique to 3D virtual communities. While this group presence paradigm is a simple idea, the design and technical issues needed to begin to achieve this on internet-based, consumer PC platforms are complex. This design approach relies heavily on the following immersion-based techniques: · 3D distanced attenuated voice and sound with stereo "hearing" · a 3D navigation scheme that strives to be as comfortable as walking around · an immersive first person user interface with a human vision camera angle · individualized 3D head avatars that breathe, have emotions and lip sync · 3D space design that is geared toward human social interaction.

Document type: 
Other

Extending the range of facial types

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1991
Abstract: 

We describe, in case study form, techniques to extend the range of facial types and movement using a parametric facial animation system originally developed to model and control synthetic 3D faces limited to a normal range of human shape and motion. These techniques have allowed us to create a single authoring system that can create and animate a wide range of facial types that range from realistic, stylized, cartoon-like, or a combination thereof, all from the same control system. Additionally we describe image processing and 3D deformation tools that allow for a greater range of facial types and facial animation output.

Document type: 
Article

A Study of Interactive Narrative from User's Perspective.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

The topic of interactive narrative has been under research for many years. Many regard the term itself as an oxymoron [1] [2], while others see narrative as an integral part of every interactive production [3] [4]. While there has been much research exploring the development of new algorithms that enable and enhance interactive narratives, there has been little research focusing on the question of how players understand and internalize their interactive narrative experiences. In this chapter, we discuss the interactive narrative experience as seen through the users‟ eyes. Specifically, we report on a study we conducted using a phenomenological approach to explore the participants‟ lived experience of playing an interactive narrative. We chose to use Façade, as an example interactive narrative for our study due to its accessibility and its focus on social relationships, conflict, and drama as its core mechanics. As we look into the experience of interactive narrative, we reflect on enhancements to the design of future interactive narratives and discuss open problems in the field of interactive narrative.

Document type: 
Book chapter

Visually Directing User’s Attention in Interactive 3D Environments.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

Lighting is a very important component of 3D environment design. Research efforts in perception, neuroscience, animation, and film have shown the importance of visual design in guiding participant’s attention to important elements in a scene. We conducted an experiment to demonstrate the merits and utility of ELE over current methods in directing participant’s attention to the important characters/objects in the scene.

Document type: 
Conference presentation

Intelligent Lighting for a Better Gaming Experience.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Lighting assumes many aesthetic and communicative functions in game environments that affect attention, immersion, visibility, and emotions. Game environments are dynamic and highly unpredictable; lighting such experiences to achieve desired visual goals is a very challenging problem. Current lighting methods rely on static manual techniques, which require designers to anticipate and account for all possible situations and user actions. Alternatively, we have developed ELE (Expressive Lighting Engine) – an intelligent lighting system that automatically sets and adjusts scene lighting in real-time to achieve desired aesthetic and communicative goals. In this paper, we discuss ELE and its utility in dynamically manipulating the lighting in a scene to direct attention, stimulate tension, and maintain visual continuity. ELE has been integrated within Unreal Tournament 2003. The videos shown at [14] shows a demonstration of a first person shooter game developed using the Unreal 2.0 engine, where ELE was configured to dynamically stimulate tension, while maintaining other visual goals.

Document type: 
Conference presentation

Expressive Lighting for Interactive Entertainment.

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

Lighting design is an essential element of visual storytelling. In cinematic theory, lighting design plays an important role in illumination, directing viewer’s gaze to important locations, and portraying visual tension. However, lighting design is a complex process, and is especially problematic for interactive entertainment systems, since important design parameters such as spatial configuration, dramatic focus, and dramatic intensity, cannot be determined in advance. Indeed, they often change dramatically during interaction. Additionally, manually adjusting colors, positions, and angles of each light in a scene is a time consuming and tedious process. In this paper, we describe a system developed based on cinematic and theatrical lighting design theory to automatically adjust positions, colors, and angles of each light in real-time to accommodate the continually evolving dramatic situation, while maintaining the desired style, and ensuring visual continuity.

Document type: 
Article

A User-Centric Adaptive Story Architecture – Borrowing from Acting Theories.

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Abstract: 

Interactive virtual environments are becoming increasingly popular for their utility in education, virtual training, and entertainment. These applications often rely on a scenario that is revealed to the user as he/she interacts with synthetic objects and characters that inhabit virtual worlds. Current interactive narrative architectures used in the interactive entertainment industry often use decision trees, which are hard to author and modify. Some interactive entertainment productions are starting to use more generative techniques, such as plan-based or goal-based narrative. In this paper, I present an interactive narrative architecture that extends current research in interactive narrative by integrating a user modeling and user behavior analysis technique, which I argue facilities a more engaging and fulfilling experience. I have implemented the architecture within an interactive story called Mirage. The architecture resulted from an iterative design and development process involving a team that included film and theatre professionals. During this design and development process, I have experimented and evaluated different narrative techniques, which resulted in the proposed architecture.

Document type: 
Article