“There is no greater burden in life than that of having potential.” ~Charlie Brown

April 18, 2008 Virtual Humans Forum


The Virtual Humans Forum, is curated for the third year by Christophe Hry, (Lead Research & Development Engineer, Industrial Light & Magic), with the help of Peter Plantec. The forum offers presentations and lectures revealing the state of research and current projects involving realistic digital performances.


Jeff Kleiser will be presenting “Synthespian Stories: A behind-the-scenes history of computer generated characters from TRON to the present” on:
Wednesday May 07
16:00 – 17:00
Knig-Karl-Halle

Computer-generated characters have provided computer graphics programmers with some of the most challenging problems they have faced, including the portrayal of convincing hair, skin and facial animation. This lecture traces the development of capabilities related creating these “Synthespians” over the years, beginning with TRON and ending with current state of the art techniques. Behind-the-scenes process footage will be screened in addition to final versions of various projects.

Jeff Kleiser has contributed to films with groundbreaking visual effects including “Tron”, “Stargate”, “Judge Dredd”, “Clear and Present Danger”, and many others. More recently, Kleiser has supervised visual effects for “Son of the Mask”, “Fantastic Four” and “Scary Movie 4″.  In addition to supervising VFX projects, Kleiser has directed numerous commercials.With partner Diana Walczak, Kleiser has directed CG-animated stereoscopic films for projects such as the “Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man” thrill ride (for Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida) and “Corkscrew Hill” an original ride attraction. Jeff Kleiser has presented papers at many international events and has served as an industry expert in interviews with The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The ABC Evening News. Kleiser serves on the board of directors of the Visual Effects Society and the board of trustees of The Norman Rockwell Museum.

Synthespian Studios is a design firm/production company that specializes in computer generated characters for feature films, theme-park attractions, commercials and web applications. With studios in Hollywood and Western Massachusetts, the company has won acclaim for its ground-breaking work in Universal’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, the X-Men films, Fantastic Four, and the avant garde opera, Monsters of Grace, designed by Robert Wilson and composed by Philip Glass.