The primary objective of CLIPE is to train a generation of innovators and researchers in the field of virtual characters simulation and animation. Advances in technology are pushing towards making VR/AR worlds a daily experience. Whilst virtual characters are an important component of these worlds, bringing them to life and giving them interaction and communication abilities requires highly specialized programming combined with artistic skills, and considerable investments: millions spent on countless coders and designers to develop video-games is a typical example. The research objective of CLIPE is to design the next-generation of VR-ready characters. CLIPE is addressing the most important current aspects of the problem, making the characters capable of:
Behaving more naturally;
Interacting with real users sharing a virtual experience with them;
Being more intuitively and extensively controllable for virtual worlds designers.
To meet the objectives, the CLIPE consortium gathers some of the main European actors in the field of VR/AR, computer graphics, computer animation, psychology and perception.
The vision of CLIPE is based on the observation that the development of new techniques to create and control interactive virtual characters is slowed down by the limited availability of trained staff with a multidisciplinary expertise in computer animation, technology-related fields and human factor. Thus, CLIPE aims at forming the next generation of scientists that will help turn the corner of this technological revolution and consolidate the innovation capacity in this field of computer animation by drawing on expertise from many disciplines.
The project will expose young researchers to the state-of-the-art research work in the areas, allowing them to develop character simulation techniques beyond the current frontiers, such as:
machine learning to provide characters with new abilities based on examples;
procedural animation techniques to design large-scale virtual population of characters;
perceptual studies to evaluate character simulation quality and communication abilities.
CLIPE also extends its partnership to key industrial actors of populated virtual worlds, giving students the ability to explore new application fields and start collaborations beyond academia. A thorough training program will equip the young researchers with many of the skills required to succeed in the very competitive industry/start-up world, if they decide to venture there.