Ari Shapiro

shapiroari (at) yahoo (dot) com
What I do right now...

Currently working as a Research Scientist at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and lead the Character Animation and Simulation group.
2007-2010 Graphics Scientist at Rhythm & Hues Studios.
2006-2007 R & D at Industrial Light & Magic and LucasArts.

Ph.D. Computer Science, UCLA 2007
M.S. Computer Science, UCLA 2002

Caught up in the dot-com madness 1993 - 2001
Animation Software
SmartBody is a character animation system that gives an interactive character an extensive set of cpabilities and behaviors, such as: locomotion, steering, object manipulation, speech synthesis, emotional expression, gesturing, physical simulation, gazing among others.

The DANCE software is used for physics-based animation research, including dynamic simulation of rigid bodies, motion capture and dynamic control.

You can access my Google Scholar page here.
You can also browse some of my older PhD
research in motion capture, physical simulation, animation and artificial intelligence.

 E. Miguel, A. Feng, A. Shapiro, Towards Cloth-Manipulating Characters, The 27th Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents, Houston, TX, May 26-28
 A. Shapiro, A. W. Feng, R. Wang, G. Medioni, H. Li, M. Bolas, E. Suma, Rapid Avatar Capture Using Commodity Sensors, The 27th Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents, Houston, TX, May 26-28 (video)
 A. W. Feng, Y. Huang, Y. Xu, A. Shapiro, Fast, Automatic Character Animation Pipelines, Journal of Visualisation & Computer Animation (paper preprint, bibtex)
 Y. Xu, A. W. Feng, S. Marsella, A. Shapiro, A Practical And Configurable Lip Sync Method for Games, ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion in Games, Dublin, Ireland, November 2013 (paper, video, bibtex)
 S. Marsella, A. Shapiro, A. W. Feng, Y. Xu, M. Lhommet, S. Scherer,Towards Higher Quality Character Performance in Previz, Digital Production Symposium, Anaheim, CA July 2013 (paper, bibtex)
 S. Marsella, Y. Xu, A. W. Feng, M. Lhommet, S. Scherer, A. Shapiro, Virtual Character Performance from Speech, Symposium on Computer Animation, Anaheim, CA July 2013 (paper, video, bibtex)
 A. Shapiro, A. W. Feng, The Case for Physics Visualization in an Animator's Toolset, 8th International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications, Barcelona, Spain, February, 2013 (pdf, bibtex)
 A. Feng, Y. Huang, Y. Xu, A. Shapiro, Automating the Transfer of a Generic Set of Behaviors Onto a Virtual Character, The Fifth international conference on Motion in Games, Rennes, France, November, 2012 (pdf, video, bibtex) Best Paper award!
 A. Feng, Y. Huang, M. Kallmann, A. Shapiro, An Analysis of Motion Blending Techniques, The Fifth international conference on Motion in Games, Rennes, France, November, 2012 (pdf, video1, video2, bibtex)
 A. Feng, Y. Xu, A. Shapiro, An Example-Based Motion Synthesis Technique for Locomotion and Object Manipulation, Symposium of Interactive 3D Graphics and Games, Costa Mesa, CA, March 2012 (pdf, video, bibtex)
 A. Shapiro, Building a Character Animation System, Invited Talk, Motion in Games, 2011 (pdf, bibtex)
 Welbergen van, H. and Xu, Yuyu and Thiebaux, M. and Feng, WW and Fu, J. and Reidsma, D. and Shapiro, A., Demonstrating and Testing the BML Compliance of BML Realizers, IVA 2011, (pdf, bibtex)
 A. Shapiro, S.H. Lee, Practical Character Physics For Animators, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, July/August 2011 (pdf, video, bibtex)
 B. Allen, D. Chu, A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, On Beat! Timing and Tension for Dynamic Characters, ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation (SCA), ACM Press, August, 2007 (pdf, video, bibtex).
 A. Shapiro, D. Chu, B. Allen, P. Faloutsos, The Dynamic Controller Toolkit, The 2nd Annual ACM SIGGRAPH Sandbox Symposium on Videogames, San Diego, CA, August, 2007 (pdf, videos), (bibtex)
 A. Shapiro, M. Kallmann, P. Faloutsos, Interactive Motion Correction and Object Manipulation, Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games, Seattle, Washington, April, 2007 (pdf, videos), (bibtex)
 A. Shapiro, Y. Cao, P. Faloutsos, Style Components, Graphics Interface 2006, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, June, 2006.
(pdf, videos), (bibtex)
 A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, V. Ng-Thow-Hing, Dynamic Animation and Control Environment, Graphics Interface 2005, p. 61-70, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, May, 2005.
(pdf, software), (bibtex)
  A. Shapiro, F. Pighin, P. Faloutsos, Hybrid Control For Interactive Character Animation, The Eleventh Pacific Conference on Computer Graphics and Applications, p. 455-460, Canmore, Alberta, Canada, October, 2003.
(pdf, videos) (bibtex)
  A. Shapiro, G. Fuchs, R. Levinson, Learning a Game Strategy Using Pattern-Weights and Self-Play, Third International Conference on Computers and Games, p. 42-60, Edmonton, Canada, July, 2002.
(pdf, Springer-Verlag, from LNCS) (bibtex)

Refereed Conference Presentations
  A. Shapiro, S.H. Lee, Practical Character Physics For Animators, SIGGRAPH 2009 Talk, New Orleans, LA, August 2009
  J. Bayever, J. Gordon, G. McMillan, Y. Lakhani, J. Mancewicz, A. Shapiro, Making Statues Move, SIGGRAPH 2008 Talk, Los Angeles, CA, August 2008

  A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, Interactive and Reactive Control, SIGGRAPH 2005 Sketches, Los Angeles, CA, August 2005
(pdf, demo)
  A. Shapiro, Y. Cao, P. Faloutsos, Interactive Motion Decomposition, SIGGRAPH 2004 Sketches, Los Angeles, CA, August 2004
  A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, Complex Character Animation that Combines Kinematic and Dynamic Control, SIGGRAPH 2003 Sketches & Applications, San Diego, CA, July 2003.

Refereed Posters & Demos
  A. Shapiro, A. Feng, R. Wang, G. Medioni, E. Suma, Automatic Acquisition and Animation of Virtual Avatars, IEEE VR 2014, Minnesota, March 2014
  A. Leuski, A. Shapiro, R. Gowrisankar, Y. Xu, T. Richmond, A. Feng, Mobile Personal Healthcare Mediated by Virtual Humans, Proceedings of the companion publication of the 19th international conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Haifa, Israel, February 2014 paper, bibtex
  E. Miguel, A. Feng, Y. Xu, A. Shapiro, Towards Cloth-Manipulating Characters, ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion in Games, Dublin, Ireland, November 2013
  Y. Xu, A. Feng, A. Shapiro, A Simple Method for High Quality Lip Syncing, Symposium of Interactive 3D Graphics and Games 2013, Orlando, Florida, March, 2013
  A. Shapiro, D. Chu, P. Faloutsos The Controller Toolkit, Symposium of Computer Animation 2006, Posters & Demos, Vienna, Austria, August 2006
  M. Kallmann, A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, Planning Motions in Motion, Symposium of Computer Animation 2006, Posters & Demos, Vienna, Austria, August 2006
  A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, Steps Toward Intelligent Interactive Control, Symposium of Computer Animation 2005, Posters & Demos, Los Angeles, CA, July 2005
  A. Shapiro, P. Faloutsos, Victor Ng-Thow-Hing, Dynamic Animation and Control Environment, Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, Posters & Demos, Grenoble, France, August 2004
  A. Shapiro, Y. Cao, P. Faloutsos, Stylistic Motion Decomposition, Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, Posters & Demos, Grenoble, France, August 2004

Book Chapters & Demos
  L.P. Morency, A. Shapiro, S. Marsella, Modeling Human Communication Dynamics for Virtual Humans, Coverbal Synchrony in Human-Machine Interaction, CRC Press, 2013

 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Rhythm & Hues Studios 2009 (feature film)
 The Incredible Hulk, Rhythm & Hues Studios 2008 (feature film)
 The Force Unleashed, Industrial Light & Magic/LucasArts 2008 and The Force Unleashed, Ultimate Sith Edition 2009(video games)

Media Coverage
 A Digital Media World magazine interview about my SIGGRAPH work in their December, 2003 edition.
 Cover graphics, UCLA Computer Science Department Handbook 2006 (pdf)

Past Advisor
 Professor Petros Faloutsos
 A web-based version of the game of Diplomacy. Originally developed by Guy Tsafnat and myself, this version is written in Java and plugs into a JSP-compliant webserver. This was used as a testbed for my automated player and can currently self-play approximately 1000 games/day.
Academic Past
UCLA, 2001 - 2007
 Ph.D., Computer Science 2007
 M.S., Computer Science 2002
San Jose State University 1999 - 2001
 M.S. program in Computer Science
 Graduation with Guy Tsafnat, wearing the Master's hood.
University of California, Santa Cruz 1994 - 1996
 B.A. in Computer Science
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 1989 - 1991
Some Fun Memories
Maui 2000
Whitewater Rafting
 Sacramento 2001 for my friend's bachelor party. This part of the trip was called Chunder. Not all of us made it through the falls. Here's the entire sequence if you'd like to see it.
April 21, 2014 I'll be chairing the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion in Games, November 6th-8th, 2014 here in Los Angeles.

April 17, 2014 News article from USC's Viterbi School of Engineering on the Fast Avatar Capture and Simulation work: The full article is here.

February 21, 2014
Here is a Gizmodo article on our Rapid Avatar Capture and Simulation project where we can capture a person using a first-generation Microsoft Kinect system and simulate them in a matter of minutes.

GIZMODO - Kinect Avatar Creation at USC from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

We believe that this kind of capability dramatically changes the economics of avatar capture (essentially, it's now free and takes very little time) and will have an impact on 3D character acquisition and use going forward.
Here's a video of the entire capture process:

March, 2013
I volunteered for a project out of ICT's Graphics Lab. My face and performance were captured by their Light Stage (I was not involved with the technical aspects). Here are the results, as shown on different technological platforms by both Nvidia:

and Activision:

In the days following the capture, I would walk by my colleagues in the Graphics Lab (my office is very close to theirs) and they would be studying me very closely as I walked by. Occassionally they would say things like "You should see what we are doing to 'Ari' today.". In didn't take long before I insisted that they call my digital doppleganger 'Ira' instead of 'Ari' to loosen some of this association between myself and this digital version of myself. You can do what you want with Ira; it gets a little personal when you are doing it to 'me'. I'm sure that as this phenomena of capturing a person and digitizing them, then putting their digital version in various situations will lead to a number of psychological studies, particularly now that the distinction between the two is getting smaller and smaller.

In case you are curious, the 'yogurt parfait' incident came when the director (Oleg Alexander from ICT) asked me to get mad about something so that they could record some kind of emotional expression. About a week before the capture session, I had stopped by McDonalds in the morning for their $1 sausage muffin (substituting sausage for egg) and the $1 fruit and yogurt parfaits, as I had done so a few times a week for the past month. Usually the strawberries are a bit too cold, and sometimes frozen, so I would typically eat the yogurt, and would sometimes not even touch the strawberries, depending on how icy and cold they were. That one day, they gave me an entire plastic cup full of frozen, hard strawberries without a bit of yogurt, which I didn't realize until I left the drive through. I came back the next day, I asked for a refund, then asked the cashier to check the parfaits and make sure that there is enough yogurt in them. This turned into an unpleasant exchange with the manager on duty, who insisted that all parfaits are exactly the same, and that it would have been impossible to get a parfait that lacked yogurt, and refused to check any of the existing parfaits for their yogurt content (I still wanted another one...) I then wrote a complaint to McDonalds via email. They sent me a coupon for a free meal, told me they took my complaint seriously, and told me they would talk to the manager at that restaurant. That was about as much effort I wanted to put into a defective $1 purchase. I went back to that McDonalds several weeks later, and noticed the manager wearing a different, what appeared to be, a more formal, uniform, and the cashier also for the first time refused to substitute sausage for egg anymore in the $1 sausage mcmuffin. So I assume that someone talked to the owner and the manager, and among other things, a decision was made to not allow substitutions anymore. Not sure what happened to the parfaits - I stopped buying them. I suspect that my complaint set in motion a number of things. All in all, I stopped frequenting there for breakfast. So it's nice that Digital Ira can carry on my message without any additional effort on my part (how long do things last on the Internet, these days? Forever?), and stand up for the little guy against the corporate multinational.

Here's a fun parody of the yogurt ordeal: