|Alma mater||ETH Zurich (2010)|
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (2006)
|Known for||Human Digitization, Facial Performance Capture|
|Fields||Computer Graphics, Computer Vision|
|Institutions||Pinscreen (Founder/CEO) |
University of Southern California (Associate Professor)
Institute for Creative Technologies (Director)
|Thesis||Animation Reconstruction of Deformable Surfaces (2010)|
|Doctoral advisor||Mark Pauly|
Hao Li (Chinese: 黎顥; pinyin: Lí Hào; born January 17, 1981, in Saarbrücken, West Germany) is a computer scientist, innovator, and entrepreneur from Germany, working in the fields of computer graphics and computer vision. He is founder and CEO of Pinscreen, Inc., associate professor of computer science at the University of Southern California, as well as director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. He was previously a visiting professor at Weta Digital and a research lead at Industrial Light & Magic / Lucasfilm.
For his contributions in non-rigid shape registration, human digitization, and real-time facial performance capture, Li received the TR35 Award in 2013, recognizing him as one of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35, from the MIT Technology Review. He was named Andrew and Erna Viterbi Early Career Chair in 2015, and was awarded the Google Faculty Research Award and the Okawa Foundation Research Grant the same year. Li won an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2018 and was named to the DARPA ISAT Study Group in 2019. He is member of the Global Future Council on Virtual and Augmented Reality of the World Economic Forum.
Li was born in 1981 in Saarbrücken, Germany (then West Germany). His parents are both Taiwanese immigrants living in Germany. He went to a French-German high school in Saarbrücken and speaks four languages fluently (English, German, French, and Mandarin Chinese). He obtained his Diplom (eq. M.Sc.) in Computer Science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (then University of Karlsruhe (TH)) in 2006 and his PhD in Computer Science at ETH Zurich in 2010. He was a visiting researcher at ENSIMAG in 2003, the National University of Singapore in 2006, Stanford University in 2008, and EPFL in 2010. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and Princeton University between 2011 and 2012.
Li joined Industrial Light & Magic / Lucasfilm in 2012 as a research lead to develop the next generation real-time performance capture technologies for virtual production and visual effects. He has been on the faculty in the Computer Science department at the University of Southern California since 2013, where he is currently an associate professor. In 2014, he spent a summer as a visiting professor at Weta Digital advancing the facial tracking and hair digitization technologies for the visual effects of Furious 7 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. In 2015, he founded Pinscreen, Inc., an Artificial Intelligence startup that specializes on the creation of photorealistic virtual avatars using advanced machine learning algorithms. In 2016, he was appointed director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.
He is best known for his work on dynamic geometry processing and data-driven techniques for making 3D human digitization and facial animation accessible to the masses. During his PhD, Li co-created the first real-time and markerless system for performance-driven facial animation based on depth sensors which won the best paper award at the ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation in 2009. The team later commercialized a variant of this technology as the facial animation software Faceshift (acquired by Apple Inc. in 2015 and incorporated into the iPhone X in 2017). His technique in deformable shape registration is used by the company C-Rad AB and widely deployed in hospitals for tracking tumors in real-time during radiation therapy. In 2013, he introduced a home scanning system that uses a Kinect to capture people into game characters or realistic miniature versions. This technology was licensed by Artec and released as a free software Shapify.me. In 2014, he was brought on as visiting professor at Weta Digital to build the high-fidelity facial performance capture pipeline for reenacting the deceased actor Paul Walker in the movie Furious 7 (2015).
His recent research focuses on combining techniques in Deep Learning and Computer Graphics to facilitate the creation of 3D avatars and to enable true immersive face-to-face communication and telepresence in Virtual Reality. In collaboration with Oculus / Facebook, he developed in 2015, the first facial performance sensing head-mounted display, which allows users to transfer their facial expressions onto their digital avatars while being immersed in a virtual environment. In the same year, he founded the company Pinscreen, Inc. in Los Angeles, which introduced a technology that can generate realistic 3D avatars of a person including the hair from a single photograph. Their innovations include the development of deep neural networks that can infer photorealistic faces and expressions, which has been showcased at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Dalian. Due to the ease of generating and manipulating digital faces, Li has been raising public awareness about the threat of manipulated videos such as deepfakes. In 2019, Li and media forensics expert, Hany Farid, from the University of California, Berkeley, released a research paper outlining a new method for spotting deepfakes by analyzing facial expression and movement patterns of a specific person. With the rapid progress in artificial intelligence and computer graphics, Li has predicted that genuine videos and deepfakes will become indistinguishable in as soon as 6 to 12 months, as of September 2019. In January 2020, Li spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos about deepfakes and how they could pose a danger to democracy and vulnerable groups. Li and his team at Pinscreen, Inc. also demonstrated a real-time deepfake technology at the annual meeting, where the faces of celebrities are superimposed onto the participants' face.
- DARPA Information Science and Technology (ISAT) Study Group Member.
- Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.
- Andrew and Erna Viterbi Early Career Chair.
- Okawa Foundation Research Grant.
- Google Faculty Research Award.
- World's top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review.
- Best Paper Award at the ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation 2009.
For his technological contributions in visual effects, Li has been credited in major motion pictures, including Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017), Furious 7 (2015), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), and Noah (2014). Li also appeared as himself in various documentaries on artificial intelligence and deepfakes, including Buzzfeed's Follow This in 2018, CBC's The Fifth Estate in 2018, and iHuman in 2019.
-  Archived 2016-07-07 at the Wayback Machine from faculty roster at USC Computer Science Department, retrieved 2015-03-03.
- "Hao Li to Spearhead Vision and Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies". viterbi.usc.edu. USC.
-  from MIT Technology Review TR35 Awards, retrieved 2015-03-03.
- "Hao Li Earns Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award - USC Viterbi | School of Engineering". USC Viterbi | School of Engineering. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
- "Hao Li Selected for the DARPA ISAT Study Group". USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- "Global Future Council on Virtual and Augmented Reality". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- Knight, Will. "The world's top deepfake artist is wrestling with the monster he created". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- "Face/Off: live facial puppetry". ACM.
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- "Hao Li wants to scan you into your favourite games". wired.co.uk. Wired.
- "How I Made It: USC professor brings computer animation to life". www.latimes.com. LA Times.
- "Who wants to show up as Gandalf at their next meeting?". news.usc.edu. USC.
- "Oculus Rift Hack Transfers Your Facial Expressions onto Your Avatar". technologyreview.com. MIT Technology Review.
- "Stealth Face-Tracking Startup Pinscreen Raises $1.8 Million". uploadvr.com. UploadVR.
- "Pinscreen launches with high-tech distractions for a nerve-wracking election". techcrunch.com. TechCrunch.
- "Photorealistic facial texture from a single still". fxguide.com. fxguide.
- Pierson, David. "Fake videos are on the rise. As they become more realistic, seeing shouldn't always be believing". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
- "FOX 11 In Depth: The dangers of social media". FOX 11 Los Angeles. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- O'Neill, Patrick Howell. "The world's top deepfake artist: 'Wow, this is developing more rapidly than I thought.'". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- Stankiewicz, Kevin (2019-09-20). "'Perfectly real' deepfakes will arrive in 6 months to a year, technology pioneer Hao Li says". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- "Deepfakes: Do Not Believe What You See". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
- Thomas, Daniel (2020-01-23). "Deepfakes: A threat to democracy or a bit of fun?". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
- "Endowed chairs and professorships at USC Viterbi School of Engineering". USC.
- "USC Professors Earn International Award". USC.
- "Google Faculty Research Award 2015" (PDF).
- Keslassy, Elsa (2019-11-15). "Cinephil Acquires AI-Themed Political Thriller Documentary 'iHuman' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2019-12-09.