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Program 2016


Virtual Humans Workshop

Christopher Nichols (Chaos Group Labs), Christophe Hery (Pixar), Dr Thabo Beeler (DR), Brian Karis (Epic)
The afternoon workshop will explore the issues facing the creation of virtual digital humans. The session will take the form of a Masterclass Panel discussing the major issues required to  cross the Uncanny Valley with practical advice on the issues facing the community in producing reliable digital actors.  The Panel will cover the latest collective research being done, building on last years Virtual Human presentation along with new research and explicit discussions of the technical issues to be solved. The panel represents leading studios, rendering experts, researchers and world authorities will discuss and comment on the best practice in sampling, reproduction, simulation and rendering of Virtual humans.
Christopher Nichols

Christopher Nichols, Director, Chaos Group Labs,

CG Industry veteran Christopher Nichols is a founder of the Digital Human League and is the Director of Chaos Group Labs. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the CG Garage podcast. With a background in both VFX and Design, Nichols has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy. His passion for design, lighting and technology drives him to push the art form and enable artists worldwide.


Chaos Group Labs is the research arm of Chaos Group and is a think tank for artists, developers, academic researchers, and industry leaders. Through collaboration, CG Labs seeks to help solve key computer graphics challenges.

Christophe Hery

Christophe Hery, Senior Scientist, Pixar Animation Studios,

Christophe Hery joined Pixar in June 2010, where he holds the position of Senior Scientist. After writing new lighting models and rendering methods for Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella.  Christophe's latest work includes Finding Dory.

An alumnus of Industrial Light & Magic, Christophe previously served as a research and development lead, supporting the facility's shaders and providing rendering guidance. He was first hired by ILM in 1993 as a senior technical director. During his career at ILM, he received two Technical Achievement Awards from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.


Located in Emeryville, California, Pixar Animation Studios has created acclaimed animated features and short films for over 25 years.  Pixar is also home to the RenderMan line of software products.

Dr Thabo Beeler

Dr Thabo Beeler , Research Scientist, Disney Research,

Thabo Beeler is a Research Scientist at Disney Research Zurich, where he is heading the Capture and Effects group. Prior to that he obtained his PhD from ETH Zurich, for which he was awarded with the Eurographics PhD award. Over the past 5 years, Thabo has been working on digital humans, focusing on high-quality facial geometry reconstruction and dense performance capture. He has published several papers to these topics and has contributed to different feature films that involve digital humans. 

Disney Research is an international network of research labs, with the mission to push the scientific and technological forefront of innovation at The Walt Disney Company.

Disney Research combines the best of academia and industry, by doing both basic and application-driven research. We view publication as a principal mechanism for quality control and encourage engagement with the global research community.

Our research applications are experienced by millions of people. We honor Walt Disney’s legacy by innovating and deploying our innovations on a global scale.

Brian Karis

Brian Karis, Senior Graphics Programmer, Epic Games, Epic Games,

Brian Karis is a Senior Graphics Programmer at Epic Games, where he works on Unreal Engine 4, focusing on physically-based shading, lighting, and geometry. Prior to joining Epic in 2012, he was employed at Human Head Studios and created the renderer for Prey 2.

Founded in 1991, Epic Games is the creator of the Unreal, Gears of War and Infinity Blade series of games. Today Epic is building Paragon, Fortnite, SPYJiNX, and the new Unreal Tournament. Epic's Unreal Engine technology brings high-fidelity, interactive experiences to PC, console, mobile, VR and the Web. Unreal Engine is freely available at For more information on the studio, visit and check out @EpicGames.

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and the MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with VES Visual Effects Society, ACM SIGGRAPH and the World Building Institute, supported by the Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS), Backstage, Foundry, Isotropix, Mackevision and ScanlineVFX. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Day (APD), a joint venture with the Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart (ITFS).

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