In 1985, a computer science team at Université de Montréal made animated film history by creating one of the first ever digital characters, named Tony de Peltrie. Their six-minute film, which received a standing ovation by computer graphics designers at a festival in San Francisco, marked a turning point in computer-generated imagery (CGI). The film’s creators were able to produce a human face that, although rudimentary, was able to communicate emotions to the audience in a convincing manner.
In retrospect, Tony seems rather crude. Today, CGI can result in images with startling reality, which is precisely were Derek Nowrouzezahrai steps in. “My work focuses on creating the most realistic computer-generated images possible, specifically in the simulation of how light reflects and diffuses in a scene, how fluids realistically interact with their environment, and how shadows are formed,” he said. Nowrouzezahrai joined Université de Montréal’s Department of Computer Science and Operations Research as an assistant professor in January 2012. His work is an equal mix of computer programming, mathematics, physics and art. (more…)