Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Computer Animation Research Unites Disney with Two Universities

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two Universities Join Disney In Computer-Animation Research
Carnegie Mellon University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich might be the creators of Disney's next animated character. The Walt Disney Company will establish collaborative labs with the two universities, the corporation announced yesterday at a computer graphics conference in Los Angeles. The collaborative labs, in Pittsburgh and Zurich, will do research on computer animation, computational cinematography, autonomous interactive characters, robotics, data mining, and user interfaces, among other topics, according to a news release. Disney will provide funds for five years to pay the directors of the two labs, and money for seven years for eight principal investigators. One of the Carnegie Mellon lab's first projects will be finding ways for people to interact with virtual or robotic characters. The Swiss researchers will look at issues such as computer animation, image synthesis, and artificial intelligence. Disney may use the results for any of its divisions, including Parks and Resorts, Disney Media Networks, ESPN, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney Interactive Media Group, and Pixar Animation Studios. --Maria José Viñas