Reverse Engineering Nature

Saturday, 20 August 2011: 15.30-16.15

Henrik Wann Jensen, University of California, San Diego

Why is the sky blue? Why is grass green? What determines the color of human skin? Questions such as these are increasingly important in the development of the next generation algorithms for appearance modeling in computer graphics. Driven by the demand of ever more realistic and complex graphics in movies such as Avatar and games like Crysis there is a constant hunger in the industry for new algorithms that can produce even more realistic and impressive effects.

In this talk, I will cover recent advances in graphics that has made movies such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar possible --- and at the same time improve the flavor of yoghurt. I will describe some of our recent work in simulating the appearance of materials such as human skin, hair, milk, and ice. I will also present new research for predicting the appearance of materials based on their molecular structure in order to answer the question: "what will it look like if I mix these molecules together"?