Utah Science Technology and Research initiative’s (USTAR) newest researcher, Cem Yuksel, is blazing trails in developing the next big thing in virtual computing.
Yuksel, a computer graphics research specialist, who received his PhD in Computer Science from Texas A&M University in 2010, has recently accepted a position as an assistant professor at the U of U in the School of Computing, and has joined USTAR’s Digital Media research team.
Yuksel’s research focuses on a wide range of topics in computer graphics starting from modeling physical systems, to real-time and offline rendering techniques.
“My research is based on creating graphics technologies and extending the capabilities in a graphics environment such as a video game or virtual environment,” Yuksel said. “I focus on the elements of a real world phenomenon, such as the motion of water, and research and develop how you can recreate it in a virtual environment.”
Yuksel developed Hair Farm, a computer software plugin for 3ds Max, a 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software package used by game developers and visual effects artists. Hair Farm is currently used by production studios and individual artists to create realistic hair for virtual characters in digital media such as video games and movies.
What may seem trivial, a virtual haircut or “do” turned out to be extremely complex. Yuksel discovered that development of the innovative software was very challenging. “In the computer environment we do not have physics,” he said. “You can’t grab the hair, cut the hair, comb or color the hair to shape it the way you want without developing tools to simulate the real world physics.”
Yuksel has developed ways to create the geometric characteristics of hair, the complexity of light within the hair, and how it moves. Yuksel developed the method through “hair meshing,” which helps model hair in a process similar to that used in modeling polygonal surfaces. This technique allows virtual artists direct control over the shape of the hair model, giving them the ability to model the exact hair shape they desire in a simplified and seamless process.
“Most hair animation is time consuming, so it is all about how to simulate simplified physics in an efficient way and then creating an algorithm to generate high-quality results,” Yuksel said.
Yuksel’s research has been used by numerous companies and computer graphics artists such as Frantic Films, UBISOFT, Scanline VFX, and Superrune to develop 3D animation and character design.As with hair, realistically simulating the sweater or scarf you will wear this winter to keep warm is currently painstaking for graphics artists. Yuksel’s latest research project is teaching the computer how to knit that sweater or scarf in an efficient process. Yuksel’s modeling technique, “stitch meshing,” enables graphics artists to efficiently produce yarn-level models of complex knitted garments.
Yuksel’s research aided in his recruitment to the USTAR and U of U faculty. As a professor, he is teaching the graphics researchers of the future the intricacies of creating realistic virtual worlds and characters in the U of U’s School of Computing.
To find out more about Yuksel’s research visit: http://www.cemyuksel.com/