Computer-generated human faces usually look plastic and unconvincing on the silver screen; one of the biggest problems is getting simulated light to bounce off the skin just right. Now computer scientists Henrik Wann Jensen of the University of California, San Diego, and Pat Hanrahan of Stanford University have written software that renders virtual skin in a more realistic way. A graphic artist defines the shape and color of the face, the lighting conditions, and the translucency of the skin; the software then uses physics to calculate how light is absorbed and scattered beneath the surface of the simulated skin. That gives the skin a softer, more diffuse, and more natural look than previous computer models did. What’s more, the technique requires no more time to render each frame of animation than existing methods, thanks to mathematical shortcuts. Studios and effects companies including Pixar, ILM, and Disney are starting to use the technique, says Jensen.
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace
Desperate parents just want to feed their babies. They’re having to contend with misinformation, price gouging, and scams along the way.
I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn.
Our newest issue spells out what you need to know about the dizzying world of digital money.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.