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The Research and Development department at Animationsinstitut consists of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the creation of innovative tools and technologies, not only for entertainment productions, but also for alternative and more socially engaged applications. Over the years, we have explored a wide variety of topics that have been crucial in media productions of today and tomorrow, while providing our students with the possibility to experience the latest trends in technology at first-hand.

Our current projects have a strong focus on Digital Actors, Virtual Production, Immersion, and the potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality in narrative entertainment productions.

In 2018, the European Union funded project SAUCE (Smart Asset re-Use in Creative Environments) was launched at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg to examine light field technology, machine learning, and automatic asset transformation for the creative industries. The consortium comprises eight partners, including notable VFX companies from England and research institutes from around Europe.

A strong focus of research has also been facial animation and emotions. This included the development of practical tools for high-quality facial animation: The Facial Animation Toolset.

Another line of applied research is Animation 2.0. It refers to all activities that aim at identifying novel use-cases for animated content. For example, the DFG-funded project SARA combined Virtual Characters, Animation, and Psychology to investigate how individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) perceive emotions in computer-generated facial expressions with different levels of abstraction.