Avatar ‚Äì A Virtual Human
The research project LifeLike aims to develop a graphical computer interface called an avatar. My research has focused on creating a visually compelling digital version of a real human, Dr. Alexander Schwarzkopf, who is a long-standing program manager at NSF. The prototype system is designed to help researchers prepare for a proposal using interactive questions and answers with the avatar. We have seen many instances of avatars in movies and video games. However, a single image of a movie scene takes hours to render, while characters in games look too cartoonish to convey a sense of natural face-to-face human communication. The LifeLike application renders an avatar fast enough to accommodate real time interaction while producing photorealistic details similar to an actual person. The success of this project brings us one step further to preserving humans in their natural form. The image is captured from real time renderings on a 4k-resolution display (4 times HDTV). The avatar in the current LifeLike application looks very close to a real human. Or, as Dr. Schwarzkopf said when he interacted with his avatar in Jan 2010, "It‚Äôs here. It looks like me."