Aug 20, 2008

The Hidden Geometry of Hair: Computer Generated "Hollywood Hair" Unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2008

I came across a link to an article in the UCSD School of Engineering News today and just had to post it.


Technology now exists that will enable animators, video-game makers, and film-makers the opportunity to capture images of real hairstyles that look and behave realistically. Below is a series of side-by-side comparisons of computer generated heads of hair and the real thing.

From the article:

"By determining the orientations of individual hairs, the researchers can realistically estimate how the hairstyle will shine no matter what angle the light is coming from. “You can’t just blend the highlights from two different angles to get a realistic highlight for a point in between,” said Chang.
“Instead of blending existing highlights, we create new ones.”

....One possible extension of this work: making an animated character’s hair realistically blow in the wind. This is possible because the researchers also developed a way to calculate what individual hair fibers are doing between the hairstyle surface and the scalp. They call this finding the “hidden geometry” of hair.

“Our method produces strands attached to the scalp that enable animation. In contrast, existing approaches retrieve only the visible hair layer,” the authors write in their SIGGRAPH 2008 paper. An animation of a hairstyle is available as a download from the “hair photobooth” Web site created by Sylvain Paris:

What we need is a real-life hair photobooth. Have a bad hair day? No problem. Walk in, "zap!", and walk out with real Hollywood hair. Maybe the hair scientists are working on it....

SIGGRAPH 2008 Paper citation: “Hair Photobooth: Geometric and Photometric Acquisition of Real Hairstyles,” by Sylvain Paris and Wojciech Matusik from Adobe Systems, Inc., Will Chang, Wojciech Jarosz and Matthias Zwicker from University of California, San Diego; and Oleg I. Kozhushnyan and Fr├ędo Durand from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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