A Digital Domain press release
Digital Domain Head of Software R&D Doug Roble demonstrated a live virtual version of himself in real time
LOS ANGELES – May 13, 2019 – Digital Domain Head of Software R&D Doug Roble, and for the first time, his virtual avatar DigiDoug, presented a talk at TED2019 on what it takes to create a digital human. DigiDoug is the industry-leading work of the Digital Human Group, a unit within global visual effects studio Digital Domain focused on the creation of digital humans, creatures and characters.
Digital Domain has delivered innovative and stunning visuals for hundreds of films and experiences, leading the industry in digital humans. The studio turned Josh Brolin’s performance into lead CG villain Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War,” which received the trifecta of Academy Award, BAFTA and VES Best Visual Effects nominations, and several VES Awards, including for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature and Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature. Two of the studio’s first digital humans were Academy Award-winner “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which aged Brad Pitt backward as a believable CG human, and Tupac’s hologram appearing at Coachella.
DigiDoug uses Digital Domain’s real-time, marker-less, minimally-rigged, single-camera facial animation system. Utilizing new techniques combined with machine learning, DigiDoug is a glimpse into the future of what is possible for live, photorealistic, virtual human performances and digital presences. To demonstrate how quickly digital characters can change, DigiDoug morphed into character Elbor, a play on Doug Roble’s last name.
“Originally built for entertainment purposes as a new tool for storytellers and filmmakers, other applications for this technology immediately surfaced. The work from the Digital Human Group will change communication and human interactions forever,” said John Fragomeni, President, Digital Domain.
Digital Domain and Digital Human Group partners involved with the creation of DigiDoug include
- Vision and Graphics Lab, USC Institute for Creative Technologies, to capture Doug’s facial detail in high resolution
- Unreal Engine from Epic Games, the real time engine used to render DigiDoug and Elbor
- Nvidia, for graphics processing units for rendering and machine learning
- Dimensional Imaging (DI4D™), to capture Doug’s facial movements
- Xsens, a motion capture system to capture Doug’s body movements
- IKINEMA, streams, retargets and cleans Doug’s body performance and synchronises movements onto DigiDoug and Elbor in real-time
- Manus, gloves used to capture Doug’s hand and finger movements in real time
- Fox Labs Technoprops, the helmet camera system to capture data for training and use on stage for real time performance.
To view Doug Roble’s 2019 TED talk, and his live digital human DigiDoug: go.ted.com/dougroble
About Digital Domain:
Digital Domain creates transportive experiences that entertain, inform and inspire. Throughout the last quarter of a century, the studio has grown to lead the visual effects industry, expanding globally into digital humans, virtual production, previsualization and virtual reality, and adding commercials, game cinematics and episodics to its robust film roster. Digital Domain’s rich legacy consists of hundreds of blockbuster feature films for every major studio and thousands of commercials, music videos, game cinematics and digital content by world-renowned directors and brands.
A creative force in visual effects and premium content, Digital Domain and its predecessor entities, have brought artistry and technology to films including “Titanic,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and blockbusters “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ready Player One.” Its artists have won more than 100 major awards, including Academy Awards, Clios, BAFTA awards and Cannes Lions.
Digital Domain has successfully become the first independent visual effects studio to enter Greater China. In 2017, Digital Domain launched in Hyderabad. In 2018, Digital Domain acquired one of China’s VR hardware equipment pioneers and leaders – VR Technology Holdings Ltd, Shenzhen（”3Glasses”).
Digital Domain has locations in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Montreal, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Taipei and Hyderabad. Digital Domain Holdings Limited is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (stock code: 547).
About TED: TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, including our annual gathering in Vancouver, as well as TEDWomen, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on TED.com and other platforms. Audio versions of the talks from TED2019 will also be published to TED’s podcast TED Talks Daily, available on Apple Podcasts and all other podcast platforms.
TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; TEDx, which licenses thousands of individuals and groups to host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities; the Audacious Project, which surfaces and funds critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives; TEDSummit, which gathers the most engaged members of the global TED community for brainstorms, discussions, performances, workshops and an eclectic program of mainstage talks; and the educational initiativeTED-Ed. TED also has a library of original podcasts, including The TED Interview with Chris Anderson, Sincerely, X, and one of Apple Podcasts’ most downloaded new shows of 2018, WorkLife with Adam Grant.