La Monarca Vol 4 FINAL - Page 10

Photo courtesy of Alain Juarez Perez
Alain Juárez Pérez
UC Merced 5th year doctoral candidate
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Advisor: Marcelo Kallmann
Bachelor’s degree: Universidad de Guanajuato
pening and walking through a door isn’t one of
the more complex tasks we perform each day.
For most of us, the real work begins after we’ve passed
through the door. Not for Alain Juárez-Pérez, a doctoral
student in computer graphics at UC Merced. For the
last four years, Alain has analyzed in excruciating detail
the thousands of subconscious, coordinated movements
that come into play for a task as “simple” as opening
and walking through a door. In the process, he has
discovered key principles of motion and biomechanics
for potential use in the next generation of high-tech
products from movies to medical devices.
The crux of Alain’s work is creating motions that
look realistic when depicted as a computer graphic.
Currently, the most common way to generate highly
realistic computer-generated motion is via a top-down
approach. Real-life actors perform the scene with
cameras recording the locations of their appendages.
Those data are translated into a computer rendering,
filled in by artists and then stitched together to form a
continuous animated scene.
The problem, says Alain, is that live actors are
expensive and temperamental. If a director wants a
slightly different take the whole scene needs to be acted
out again, re-digitized and re-drawn. As he points out,
“Video games and movies capture the exact motion
they want to use, but there is then only one way to do
it. There are no other solutions. Every time you open a
different door you have to reenact the motion.”

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