Realistic Virtual Agents that Express Complex Emotions in Multiple Modalities

9 July 2012

Join us on July 9th for a CoCo-CHAI-LATTE seminar by Professor Jean-Claude Martin.

Emotions and their expressions by virtual characters are two important issues for future affective human-machine interfaces. Recent advances in psychology of emotions as well as recent progress in computer graphics allow us to animate virtual characters that are capable of expressing emotions in a realistic way through various modalities. Existing virtual agent systems are often limited in terms of underlying emotional models, visual realism, real-time interaction capabilities or multimodality.

In our research, we focus on virtual agents capable of expressing emotions through facial and postural expressions while interacting with the user. Our work raises several issues: How can we design computational models of emotions inspired by the different approaches to emotion in Psychology? What is the level of visual realism required for the agent to express emotions? How can we enable real-time interaction with a virtual agent? How can we evaluate the impact on the user of the emotions expressed by the virtual agent?

Facial expressions are known to be a privileged emotional communication modality. Our main goal is to contribute to the improvement of the interaction between a user and an expressive virtual agent. For this purpose, our research highlights the pros and cons of different approaches to emotions and different computer graphics techniques.

The software modules that we have designed are integrated into our platform MARC (Multimodal Affective and Reactive Characters). MARC has been used in various kinds of applications: games, virtual reality, therapeutic applications, artistic performance, ambient interaction, etc.
Recent progresses enable the design and rendering of several fully embodied characters to be animated and controlled simultaneously and independently, along with a 3D environment to enable the study of situated social interactions in virtual reality environments.

I will conclude by illustrations of the possible use of this research for eLearning applications.

Location: School of Information Technology (SIT) Lecture Theatre

Cost: Free

Contact: Sadhbh Warren, Coco Media Officer and Administrator

Phone: 9351 2612

Email: 2558532830343412163d40765322206b134c

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