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PhD Studentship / Alternatives to expert systems for real-time character deformation

Bournemouth University - Faculty of Science and Technology

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bournemouth
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £15,000 maintenance grant per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th April 2019
Closes: 9th June 2019

Lead Supervisor name: Dr Christos Gatzidis

This project is a collaboration between Bournemouth University and Ninja Theory (, a games development studio based in Cambridge with which BU (and the lead supervisor) has already collaborated on a Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) EngD project in the past. It should also be mentioned that Ninja Theory has a very significant relationship with Microsoft, with the company acquired by the latter in 2018. The company is also much decorated in terms of awards, with 5 BAFTA awards last year for their last game (Hellblade) and a SIGGRAPH Real Time Live! award in 2016.

The background of the project is the following; traditional methods for real-time character deformation have so far relied heavily on hand-crafted bespoke systems to produce results. Examples of these systems include clothing simulation and muscle/skin-deformation simulation. From this, the following research question can then be defined; can we create a system to automatically generate data, renderable in real-time, that accurately and realistically captures character deformation, without the need for expert setup or intervention? An example, but not necessarily, or by any means the only way of doing this, might be to capture images or video (or similar) of the desired deformation in real-life (whether that is muscle deformation or clothing, or indeed another deformation) and observe if we can produce a system that can output data such as blend-shapes and weights, or an alternate parametric system, that can then, subsequently, be used in real-time within a computer/video game.

What does the funded studentship include?

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant of £15,000 per annum (unless otherwise specified), to cover their living expenses and have their fees waived for 36 months. In addition, research costs, including field work and conference attendance, will be met.

Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU and International students unless otherwise specified.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates for funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years.

Studentship candidates must demonstrate outstanding academic potential with a 1st class honours degree and/or a Master’s degree with distinction. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6 in each component) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

Applicants will be asked to submit an online application form and a proposal (c. 1500 words) outlining their understanding of the project for which they are applying, the approach they would envisage taking and what qualities they will bring to the research community.

Closing date: The first call for applications will close on 09 June 2019.

For further information on how to apply click the ‘Apply’ button below or email

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