Sofien Bouaziz won the Fritz Kutter Award

© 2016 EPFL

© 2016 EPFL

One of IC’s alumni - Dr Sofien Bouaziz, was awarded the Fritz Kutter Award 2015 on his doctoral thesis "Realtime Face Tracking and Animation" developed under the supervision of Professor Mark Pauly in the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory.

The Fritz Kutter Award is given by ETH Zürich to selected candidates on the basis of an excellent thesis completed in a Swiss university. The candidates are moreover chosen by an independent committee consisting of highly qualified and esteemed members of the industry and universities.

Sofien’s thesis focuses on the complex tasks of capturing and processing human geometry, appearance and motion dynamics. It demonstrates that by introducing a novel face tracking algorithm, combining geometry and texture registration with pre-recorded animation, it is possible to create an unprecedented face tracking quality, even when using low-cost devices.

The thesis shows that optimal tracking is achieved by building an accurate 3D expression model of the user’s face scanned with a set of facial expressions. This approach is then extended by modeling online a 3D user-specific dynamic face model.

Among the key contributions of the thesis is the development of a novel realtime physics-based animation technique, allowing to simulate a large range of deformable materials. The approach developed may be used to produce more lifelike animation. Many of the conclusions presented have already been successfully implemented by the industry, and have contributed to the creation of an already well-recognized start-up company Faceshift.