The Character Animation and Simulation group is part of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technology. We perform research in the areas of human modeling, computer graphics and animation. We distribute software for animation, human capture, automatic rigging and reshaping and virtual characters on mobile platforms.


We accept internships as part of the USC ICT summer internship program. If you are interested in working with us, please contact Ari Shapiro (shapiro@ict.usc.edu).

Ari Shapiro, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

Our research is focused on the generating models of controllable movement, motion and behavior of digital humans. Digital humans are important for many applications, such as entertainment, training and simulation. In the entertainment world, digital humans/characters are used as substitutes for live actors in fi lms, or throughout commercial video games. 3D simulations are used to train military, fire, police and medical personnel for social or confrontational encounters. Advancements incomputer-based rendering has enabled the generation of realistic-looking inanimate objects, such as buildings, cars, water and such, but the generation of a life-like human figure remains a challenge. The human body is very complex, and our familiarity with human appearance and behaviors requires that 3D synthetic versions of humans be held to a very high standard. In addition to achieving visual fi delity through advanced rendering processes, behavior fi delity remains an unsolved problem; how can we control a 3D digital human such that it not only looks real, but also acts and responds in a human-like manner within its environment?