Computer Graphics

Research in computer graphics at Yale includes sketching, alternative design techniques, texture models, the role of models of human perception in computer graphics, recovering shape and reflectance from images, computer animation, simulation, and geometry processing. Applications that drive this work are architectural design, cultural heritage documentation and analysis, the study of biological forms, as well as traditional targets such as feature films, games, and other visual media. Computer graphics is one of the disciplines within Yale C2  (Creative Consilience of Computing and the Arts).

Computer graphics is used extensively in a wide range of domains—from feature film and games to medical visualization and financial analysis. However impressive the growth of computer graphics applications has been over the past forty years, the goal of easily authoring computer graphics models input remains elusive. At Yale, the research in modeling includes sketching systems for early conceptual design and the capture and editing of digital models of existing physical objects at a range of scales—from entire buildings to individual objects.

Computer graphics models need to include material appearance properties as well as geometry. Unfortunately, the models widely used in computer graphics assume that the materials are both pristine and immutable, even though real materials are neither. The goal of research on material and texture models at Yale is to devise new material representations and expressive interfaces for editing such representations, to develop novel methods to simulate materials and the processes that affect their appearance, and to physically measure the input required for material models.

Realistic, expressive motion remains an ongoing challenge in computer graphics. In order to generate animations that are both visually convincing and narratively compelling, the animation research at Yale examines new methods for computing the physics that underlie natural phenomena such as rising smoke, splashing water, and the forces that form the characteristic shapes of skin and muscle under human movement. While realism is important, expressivity and artistic directability play an equally key role, and distilling the exact parameters that capture an effective performance remains an open area of research.

Faculty working in this area:

faculty email website
Julie Dorsey Computer Graphics Group
Theodore Kim Computer Graphics Group
Holly Rushmeier Computer Graphics Group


Highlights in this area:

Theodore Kim – As part of the Yale Computer Graphics Group, I research topics in physics-based simulation, including fire, water, and humans. My work has appeared in over two dozen movies, and I received a 2012 SciTech Oscar. Previously, I was a Senior Research Scientist at Pixar Research, where I received screen credits in Cars 3, Coco, Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4. My first (uncredited) work appeared on-screen on the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.