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High Quality Facial Animation for Digital Humans: Crossing the Uncanny Valley

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, February 09, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project under the supervision of Prof Darren Cosker (http://cs.bath.ac.uk/~dpc/) in the Department of Computer Science.

The Uncanny Valley [Mori] is a term used to describe the challenge of creating human-like avatars. Originally applied to robotics, it is a term now commonly applied to computer-generated characters. While modern Movies and Video Games offer highly detailed characters, there are still challenges in reaching true realism, i.e. where a computer-generated character passes a ‘Turing Test’ of realism. One of the reasons this challenge still exists is that creating realism is still largely an artistic task, and as humans it is difficult to capture and reproduce all the subtle nuances that make people human - from small muscle twitches to the subtle way a person may smile.

In this project, we will attempt to learn these subtle variations in humans and use AI to generate these procedurally – taking the task of reproducing these idiosyncrasies from the hands of the artist. Our ultimate aim is to create facial animations indistinguishable from real humans. The project will build from motion capture and analysis technologies available at CAMERA (www.camera.ac.uk) for the 3D and 4D digitisation of humans.

The project will be based in CAMERA (www.camera.ac.uk), and will also overlap with research and commercial projects within the centre.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject and should have strong mathematical and programming ability (e.g. Python, C++, Matlab, Java). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous. Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/english-language/index.html.

How to apply:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be addressed to Prof Darren Cosker.

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Computer Science

Please ensure that you quote the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020.

Funding Notes

Research Council funding is available for an excellent UK or EU student who has been resident in the UK since September 2017. For more information on eligibility, see: View Website.

Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a stipend (£15,009 per annum, 2019/20 rate) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for 3.5 years. Early application is strongly recommended.

Applicants classed as Overseas for tuition fee purposes are NOT eligible for funding; however, we welcome all-year-round applications from self-funded candidates and candidates who can source their own funding.


[Mori] Mori, M. (2012). Translated by MacDorman, K. F.; Kageki, Norri. "The uncanny valley". IEEE Robotics and Automation. 19 (2): 98–100

How good is research at University of Bath in Computer Science and Informatics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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