Royal Society Fellowship awarded to facial animation expert

A researcher in the Department of Computer Science has been awarded a Royal Society Fellowship which will allow the continuation of cutting edge facial animation research between the University and the country’s biggest special effects company.

Dr Darren Cosker will spend four years working in collaboration with animation giant Double Negative, the company behind box office hits such as Harry Potter, Inception, 2012 and Iron Man. He will work closely with the company’s research and development team to take the technology used to create facial animation to the next level.

Darren has worked closely with Double Negative over recent years, exploring the problems faced by artists in producing life-like facial animations for use in films.

He applied for the Royal Society Fellowship as he felt it would offer him a fantastic opportunity to work directly with the company in developing technologies and providing solutions to these problems, and is thrilled that his application was successful.

Darren said: “Double Negative is a world-leading special effects company - they are right at the front of development and innovation in this sector. The opportunity to work with them on the next generation of animated film is extremely exciting for me as an individual, and also for the University’s dedicated Centre for Digital Entertainment.

“The Centre runs an EngD (postgraduate) degree programme which places students in companies for the majority of their studies. They benefit from carrying out research with real-world applications, and the companies benefit from academic input into their research and development.

“I am hoping that my Fellowship will further develop the Centre’s relationship with Double Negative and create even more opportunities for our students in the future.”

Digital entertainment is one of Britain’s fastest growing industries, making the education of capable students in this sector essential. By working closely with leading companies, academic staff at Bath are able to ensure teaching is relevant and current - preparing students for the reality they will face in industry.

Darren said: “As fifty per cent of my time will be based at the University, I will be teaching students and hope that the learnings from my collaboration with Double Negative help to influence my teaching. This is a very fast-moving sector and it is very exciting to be at the forefront of change and to bring that back to the classroom.”

Darren’s Fellowship begins in July 2012 and will continue for a duration of four years.


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