James Skorupski

Welcome! I am researcher, engineer, and designer working at eBay's new Exploratory Prototyping Innovation Center (EPIC), where I help envision, design and implement novel, intelligent, and beautiful interfaces and user experiences for both online and offline commerce, driven by rapid iteration and experimentation with bleeding edge hardware and software technology.

My primary research interests include human-computer interface design, tools for authoring of generative interactive stories, data visualization and management, plan-based interactive dramas, and real-time interaction with rendering algorithms.

Specialties: Artificial Intelligence, Graphics, Human-Computer interfaces, Data Visualization

Research

My primary research interests include human-computer interface design, tools for authoring of generative interactive stories, interactive data visualization and management, plan-based interactive dramas, and real-time interaction with rendering algorithms. My previous dissertation work explored the design and development of intelligent and graphical interfaces that allowed non-technical authors (writers and game designers) to create compelling interactive stories using relatively complex story generation algorithms. Because creating interactive and generative stories is akin to “programming” the structure of a narrative, which can be a daunting task for a writer, there is much work to be done in making the process of creating these types of stories easier and more approachable for those without programming experience.

Current

  • I have recently worked on designing and developing AI-driven virtual avatars targeting the concept of Supporting Character Realism, in which virtual characters act and interact in a convincing, consistent, and human-like manner in order blend into the background activity of a virtual world. This work is inspired by hybrid controller scenarios where humans work with in tandem AI systems, trading off control of avatars interacting with human trainees in virtual environments.
  • Story Canvas, a comic/storyboard-based interactive, generative story authoring interface based on the same underlying story model of Wide Ruled. This research focuses on developing and evaluating completely visual authoring techniques and smart interface features for the underlying plan-based story generator. It builds off of the lessons learned from Wide Ruled, and sets the stage for a more complex story model in future work.
  • Wide Ruled, an interactive story authoring and generation application based on the Universe story generation model. This project focuses on providing a simple and usable interface to the complex and powerful underlying generation model, that can be utilized by authors with little or no computer programming experience.

Past

  • Transient Rendering, a formal model of light transport, taking into account a non-infinite speed of light. In this work, my colleague Adam Smith and I introduce a physically-relevant generalization of the rendering equation and a method for approximating this equation, and define a summary measure of transient light patterns, which is used as a basis for a general sensor model.
  • Facial Type, Expression, and Viseme Generation, a method of generating new and arbitrary face shapes from a sparse set of initial real-world data. This work focuses on attaching concrete, human-readable parameters to abstract geometric variation in face meshes.
  • Interactive Thin Shells, an interface for the analysis of physically-based animations. This project, my Master's thesis at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, focused developing a novel way of interacting with physically-based animation algorithms, that allows for free-form and real-time experimentation and modification of all relevant local and global simulation parameters.
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