Augmenting physical avatars using projector-based illumination

Amit Bermano, Philipp Bruschweiler, Anselm Grundhöfer, Daisuke Iwai, Bernd Bickel, Markus Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Animated animatronic figures are a unique way to give physical presence to a character. However, their movement and expressions are often limited due to mechanical constraints. In this paper, we propose a complete process for augmenting physical avatars using projector-based illumination, significantly increasing their expressiveness. Given an input animation, the system decomposes the motion into low-frequency motion that can be physically reproduced by the animatronic head and high-frequency details that are added using projected shading. At the core is a spatio-temporal optimization process that compresses the motion in gradient space, ensuring faithful motion replay while respecting the physical limitations of the system. We also propose a complete multi-camera and projection system, including a novel defocused projection and subsurface scattering compensation scheme. The result of our system is a highly expressive physical avatar that features facial details and motion otherwise unattainable due to physical constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Article number189
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Animatronics
  • Projector-camera systems


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