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(September 25, 2020) Today, Ubisoft announced that ZooBuilder, an AI-driven tool developed by Ubisoft China’s AI & Data Lab, was accepted to the Symposium on Computer Animation (SCA), a premier forum for innovations in computer graphics and animation. *

This presentation of ZooBuilder: 2D and 3D Pose Estimation for Quadrupeds Using Synthetic Data showcases a pipeline that generates a 3D animation file (FBX) from a 2D video of an animal. The methodology to train the AI largely relies on existing key-framed animation data, called synthetic data. The simulated mo-cap data has the potential to greatly reduce production time, reducing the time animators spend on a project by an estimated 30 percent.

Diverse wildlife in video games adds to the player’s immersive experience and provides opportunities for unique gameplay. Ubisoft recognized the potential benefits that additional wildlife could bring to the Far Cry franchise, and the teams behind the ZooBuilder tool, which set out to optimize the production pipeline in order to respond to this increased need. The tool’s creation began as an initiative led by Ubisoft China’s AI & Data Lab, in conjunction with Sichuan University and several Ubisoft studios. The team has been working in collaboration with animators to feed the tool with synthetic data. It is now able to process all legible 2D videos of a cougar.

“The goal is to perfect the tool and make it work for all quadrupeds,” said Alexis Rolland, Manager of Ubisoft China’s AI & Data Lab. “With ZooBuilder, we are seeking to innovate in the animation and video game industries. Due to the complexity of AI and the diversity of the wildlife we want to represent, the research will be a long-term effort. We are open to collaborations with top researchers interested in tackling challenges related to pose estimation, whether using computer vision or reinforcement learning. “

At a global level, Ubisoft continues to bring forward AI research in the video game industry thanks to dedicated in-house teams based in several of its studios around the world, as well as local partnerships with leading research universities.

ZooBuilder will be presented by Abassin-Sourou Fangbemi, Associate Data Scientist at Ubisoft Chengdu, during SCA 2020 which will be held virtually from October 6th through the 9th.

Access the full research paper here:

  • ZooBuilder was also accepted for showcasing at Siggraph Asia 2020 in December.