MHLT H6018 - Avatar Technology

Short Title:Avatar Technology
Full Title:Avatar Technology
Module Code:MHLT H6018
ECTS credits: 10
NFQ Level:9
Module Delivered in 1 programme(s)
Module Contributor:Robert Smith
Module Description:In this module learners will investigate the concept of, and applications for, embodied agents. Topics addressed in this module include: communication and social interaction in virtual environments, HCI for AI, Sign language generation, and the 3D character development pipeline.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to
  1. By way of the literature in the field; discuss the state-of-the-art in real-time and batch rendering avatar technologies as they are used in the context of HCI and HLT with a focus on sign language generation
  2. Analyse and critically evaluate current issues in the field of embodied agents and avatar technologies. These might include, but are not limited to: accessibility, social interaction, human emotion synthesis and collaborative virtual environments
  3. Describe the various methods used to animate avatars. Including: motion capture, synthesis and traditional frame-by-frame animation
  4. Analyse avatar and associated technologies in context of their application to sign language generation.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
3D character modeling pipeline
An introduction to the 3D character modeling pipeline. Including such topics as : 3D coordinate geometry, character design; polygonal mesh representations; data structures for polygonal meshes; armature structures; simulated physics; texture mapping; scripting within a 3D animation environment. Hardware and software issues; batch rendering vs. realtime rendering.
3D Character Animation
An introduction to the complexities of character animation: Frame-by-frame animation techniques; animation principles; Lip syncing; Interpolation; articulated models; Inverse kinematics;
Data driven avatar movement
Sign language generation techniques; Use of existing tools to perform 3D character animation; motion capture techniques; full sign language synthesis with Markup; language corpora
Avatars in Human Language Technology
A learner driven exploration of existing avatar technologies; Exploring the technological and theoretical basis for the current the state of the art. Explore in which contexts are these technologies used and how have the technologies evolved over time.
Current challenges in signed language generation
After gaining an overview of what is happening in the field, learners now identify current challenges facing avatar technologies in the context of Sign language generation and how these are currently being addressed.
Implementation of existing tools and/or frameworks
Learners will report on a group implementation of a chosen signing avatar technology. These include, but are not limited to a motion capture implementation, a sign language synthesis frame work, and other taxonomic based systems.
Indicative Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work Assessment %100.00%
Course Work Assessment %
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Written Report Long paper. Literature review paper 2 40.00 n/a
Project Implementation and written report (group work) 3,4 60.00 n/a
No Final Exam Assessment %
Indicative Reassessment Requirement
Repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will consist of a repeat examination. It is possible that there will also be a requirement to be reassessed in a coursework element.
Reassessment Description
Student will be required to complete a piece of work over the summer

ITB reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Indicative Module Workload & Resources

Indicative Workload: Full Time
Frequency Indicative Average Weekly Learner Workload
Every Week 2.00
Every Week 2.00
Every Week 2.67
Recommended Book Resources
  • Ruttkay, Zsófia, and Catherine Pelachaud 2004, From brows to trust: evaluating embodied conversational agents, Kluwer Academic Publishers Netherlands
  • Brinkman, Willem-Paul, Joost Broekens, and Dirk Heylen, eds. 2015, Intelligent Virtual Agents: 15th International Conference, IVA 2015, Vol. 9238 Ed., Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), Springer Delft, The Netherlands
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Chris Totten, Game Character Creation with Blender and Unity [ISBN: 978111817272]
  • !!!Book Not Found [ISBN: 978-1-84951-6]
  • Oliver Villar, Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters [ISBN: 978-013388617]
Recommended Article/Paper Resources
Supplementary Article/Paper Resources
  • Rincon-Nigro, Mario, and Zhigang Deng. 2013, A text-driven conversational avatar interface for instant messaging on mobile devices, Human-Machine Systems, IEEE Transactions on 43.3, 328-3
  • Morie, Jacquelyn Ford, et al 2012, Embodied conversational agent avatars in virtual worlds: Making today’s immersive environments more responsive to participants, Believable Bots. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 99-11
  • Ruttkay, Zsófia, Claire Dormann, and Han Noot 2004, Evaluating ECAs-What and How?, Evaluating Embodied Conversational Agents
This module does not have any other resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
BN_KMHLT_R Master of Science in Computing in Multimodal Human Language Technology 2 Elective