Utilization of 3D Digital Actors as Digital Interface


DongWoo Lee1, Hyungjin Jeon2, HongSik Pak3*


Dept. of Visual Contents

Graduate School of Dongseo University

Busan, South Korea

Crownoz1@gmail.com, hspak@gdsu.dongseo.ac.kr, cinetree@dongseo.ac.kr





As digital media including digital devices has rapidly developed, need of more organic interface has also been expressed. In spite of technical development and a variety of studies, however, interfaces have their weaknesses as well. This paper is to complement those weaknesses using 3D digital actor-based user-centric interaction. It expands the notion of 3D digital actor into that working as interface as well beyond its conventional use in entertainment. Through this procedure, the study presents role of digital actor utilized as an offshoot of interface.


Keywords- 3D Digital Actor, AI, Organic interaction


1. Introduction


H. M. McLuhan, the author of ‘Understanding Media,’ states in his writing that ‘media is the extension of man.’ He argues that media is not to be restricted as ‘means of communication’ which is generally used today but it implies every man-made artifact. He also clarifies that media is a productive or creative process that continuously changes human capacity and scope and the notion of human itself.[1,2] Development of media, as shown above, can also be referred to as that of interaction between human and media.


Human constantly communicates with artifacts that they make. We call the point of contact upon this communication an interface. We need a keyboard and a mouse to communicate with computer and when touch panel is broken with smartphone’s display screen, we have difficulties to communicate with the smartphone, which suggests that the role of interface is instrumental as a channel for man to communicate with computer.


With technical development, interfaces are expanded into various fields including PC, smartphone, tablet PC, laptop computer, etc. Interaction between human and computer is also developing along with AI emerging as a core technology of the fourth industrial revolution, voice recognition technology, and the like. As speaker, refrigerator and air conditioner equipped with voice recognition function has recently emerged, the technology now penetrates deep in our lives. Even with such development, however, it still has error on touch and input and output on voice recognition.


In view of this background, it signifies that the need of notion and method expansion in the process of media interaction is highlighted. This paper suggests a new offshoot of 3D digital actor utilized as interface between digital device user and digital media.


2. Related Researchers


Digital actor is currently defined as a computer graphic (CG) image character that can realize appearance and motion of an actual actor at the same level.[3] This tends to be identified with motion capture technique which captures and reproduces real actors appearance and motion. Such environment has confined digital actor in fields of films or games. As digital environment rapidly advanced, however, utilization of motion capture did not stay merely in screen or monitor. With technical advance to capture motions, it developed into emotion capture that detects fine movements on face and then afterward, it was located in the field of emotional computing as an offshoot of means to qualitatively measure emotions. Thus, it suggests digital actor is also on a phase to go forward with new roles and notion for our time. Realization of intelligent UI by utilizing digital actor covered by a precedent research (Pak, Jeon and Chae, 2017) suggested a new research direction with this background. Focusing on the precedent research, this paper is to expand and interpret 3D digital actor in the category of interface beyond its use in entertainment.


Interface refers to an object’s boundary line and a medium that enables communication and access on that boundary. The term interface literally is a compound with ‘inter’ (mutual) and ‘face’ (surface, exterior) and it means between two systems or objects, at point of contact on boundary or faced part in between. It also refers input/output device that works as a means for interaction between human and digital media and what is expressed on that device.[4] When human makes a decision and enters commands to machine, the machine outputs that with sensory information. As shown in Figure 1, it is the domain of interface that lies between human’s input and machine’s output.


[Figure1. Diagram of Human-Machine-Interface] (Mackenzie, 1995)

As environment surrounding human recently becomes intelligent with development of information and communications technology, ways of interface have also evolved constantly and it serves as a medium of multi-sensory (multi-mo digital actor l) interaction accompanied with sense of touch and hearing and beyond that of vision and provides new experiences that could not be realized before.[5] Going through qwerty keyboard and stylus pen to multi-touch screen and AI-based voice recognition interface, environment of interface has continuously developed. The core value in this development process is realization of interface more convenient and organic between human and computer. AI-based voice recognition interface particularly has advantages that it reduces depth levels on menu and its standby status is maintained at all times. However, voice recognition has not been perfected yet so it also has a limit of difficulty in smooth interaction. It is expected to take much time and cost a lot to overcome this limit.[6]


Considering that 3D digital actor is of communion with multiple senses of sight, hearing and touch beyond single sensory component, it would provide users with more intense immersion to realize 3D digital actor into interface as a technology to complement elements that hinder immersion.


3. Utilization Plan


Selecting 3D digital actor from real figure in the past and present or a fictitious character, the precedent study restricted the meaning and the scope of 3D digital actor with which shape information, form image and motion picture can be created and utilized as digital information. It is because the study aimed to reinforce connection of interaction between user and 3D digital actor through 3D digital actor-based intelligent interaction UI realized as above. This paper is to suggest utilization plans of digital actor as output produced through such procedures and scope of interface utilization.


3.1 Utilize digital actor in virtual space within VR device

As a channel of imaginary communication utilizing VR devices, technology termed as social VR is recently commercialized. The core of this technology is to communicate with other people using avatar that represents a user in virtual space. The user can interact with another user or artificial intelligence that has appearance data in this space. It is digital actor that is utilized as the most important interface in the virtual space realized as above. Digital actor Substitutes role as visible interface that delivers user’s action and voice information as it is. Virtual space realized through digital device exists as a channel for interaction. Digital actor that represents a user in social VR plays a role as a medium to actualize user’s desire and an interface to communicate with other people or artificial intelligence. 


(A)Facebook Spaces                        (B)Oksusu social VR


[Figure2. Utilization of digital actor in social VR]


3.2 Representing and Utilize historical figures

Animations institute, a German educational institution, worked on digitalization project of Albert Einstein in December 2017. Led by Professor Volker Helzle, this project aimed to make Albert Einstein’s new digital ego. More precisely, it was to digitalization of human face and to develop technology that could be applied to animation, VFX and interactive media. The project proceeded with acting by a real actor Andreas Hykade and then adding Einstein’s appearance on it.  Animation institute uploaded three videos on Youtube as output of the project. These videos are named “World Formula,” “Human,” and “Smart Phone.” From the video, we can see the historical figure Einstein tell stories on human including theory of relativity that he has discovered and use a smartphone with the latest technology.[7] Another precedent research (Pak, Chae, Jeon, Ko)[8] on reproduction of such historical figure is on utilization by making a tool that can save, create and edit data of figure in the past or present, instead of realization of digital actor based on a real actor. This study can be actively used in fields of Education, media and historical Science through digital actor realized as output as well as standardizes a figure’s appearance data with deviation on different records. This process shows us that digital actor itself is not confined only to domain of entertainment but works as one interface.



[Figure3. Einstein restored as digital actor]


4. Conclusion


We have examined utilization plan of digital actor that works as interface. Utilization of 3D digital actor has been limited to description of more realistic appearance and motion in films and games so far. With development of devices along with media, however, interface environment for more intense immersion is demanded. This study has significance that 3D digital actor is demonstrated to come closer to everyday life beyond the frame of entertainment and have aspects as interface for organic interaction with user.




[1]   McLuhan, M., “Understanding Media: The Extension of Man,” New York, McGraw-Hill, 1964

[2]   Sang Ho Ki, “Extended Body & Embodied Technology: A phenomenological interpretation of McLuhan`s notion, Medium as the extension of man”, Journal of communication Science, 2009

[3]   KOCCA, "Culture Technology (CT) Deep Report ", October, 2011 

[4]   Bong Hyun Lee, "The virtual body remediated by the user interface", 2016

[5]   Jin Young Choi, “A Study on User Value Center Interface

-        Focusing on the structure and reparametal properties as contact surfaces -“, 2013

[6]   Hong sik Pak, Hyung jin Jeon, Eel jin Chae,“Intelligent User Interface Implementation based on 3D Digital Actor”,2017

[7]   https://animationsinstitut.de/en/projects/project-of-the-month/albert-einstein/albert-einstein/

[8]   Hong Sik Pak, Eel Jin Chae, Hyung Jin Jeon and Jae Hyuk Ko, “Figuration of Digital Actor by Using Multimedia Data Editing Tool”, 2017