USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies Bring Real-to-life Video Graphics

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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) Technology is making it harder and harder to tell real life from special effects, all thanks to technology being developed at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT).

If you’ve seen blockbusters like King Kong, Benjamin Button or Avatar then you’ve seen ICT’s Light Stage in action.

“It’s a full sphere with multiple LED lights that are used to control the illumination on an actor’s face,” said Abhijeet Ghosh, research professor at ICT’s graphics lab.

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The stage has evolved throughout the years, it started out as just a single arc rotating around an actor.

Now, it’s a sphere with 346 lights inside that can capture even the smallest details on an actor’s face, down to the wrinkles and pores.

“The main idea is to capture the facial appearance as realistically as possible so as to put them in computer graphics simulations and recreate those faces in computer graphics applications,” Ghosh said.

The sphere allows computers to see how light falls on human skin, something that is not easily reproducible in the digital world. Then, the images turn human actors, digital.

The technology is great for movies, and maybe even more.

“Being a researcher, I’m primarily concerned with the technology from a scientific perspective,” said Ghosh. “But even being able to see its applications in the entertainment industry and even possibly in medical imaging… that’s exciting.”

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