USC Cinematic Arts

Academy Award winner Dr. Mark Sagar is the director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. Mark is interested in bringing digital characters to life using artificial nervous systems to empower the next generation of human computer interaction. Mark’s laboratory is pioneering neurobehavioral animation that combines biologically based models of faces and neural systems to create live, naturally intelligent, and highly expressive interactive systems. Mark previously worked as the Special Projects Supervisor at Weta Digital and Sony Pictures Imageworks and developed technology for the characters in blockbusters such as Avatar, King Kong, and Spiderman 2. He has co-directed research and development for Pacific Title/Mirage and Life F/X Technologies which led groundbreaking development of realistic digital humans for film and eCommerce applications driven by artificial intelligence. His pioneering work in computer-generated faces was recognized with two consecutive Scientific and Engineering Oscars in 2010 and 2011. Dr. Sagar holds a Ph.D. in Bioengineering.