Rémi Ronfard: Directing Virtual Worlds


Curriculum Vitae







picture Remi Ronfard

I am a senior researcher (Directeur de Recherche) in Computer Science with a rich experience in industry and academia in France and North America.

I graduated from Mines Paris Tech in 1986, where I also got my PhD in 1991. I have conducted research in a variety of domains, from geometric design to 3D animation and computer vision.

This includes work on non-manifold topology in CATIA (Dassault Systèmes, 1991), mesh LODs (IBM Research, 1992), digital cartoon storyboarding (INA, 1995), aesthetic surface design (IBM Research and Dassault Systèmes, 2000), video indexing (INA, 2000), action recognition and statistical analysis of image and film styles (INRIA 2002-2007). I was an expert in the international MPEG group from
1997 to 2000.

In 2007, I joined Xtranormal Technologies in Montreal, where I became R&D director for virtual cinematography. My team created the patented “magicam” system, which was used to produce two million user-generated animation movies.

I came back to INRIA in 2009 with a new research program devoted to  “directing virtual worlds”. I helped to create the IMAGINE team in 2012, focusing on the “narrative design” part of the project.

Towards this goal, I investigate computational models of visual storytelling and movie-making. This leads to inspiring collaborations with the national  film school (ENS Louis Lumière), Célestins Theatre in Lyon, University of Geneva, Bernard Stiegler’s Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation, and with companies UBICAST, Thalès-Angénieux and Binocle 3D.

I have co-chaired international workshops on modeling people and human interaction (Beijing, 2005), 3-D cinematography (New York City, 2006; Banff, 2008; Providence, 2012), intelligent cinematography and editing (Quebec, 2014; Zurich, 2015; Lisbon, 2016) and computational models of narratives (Atlanta, 2015, Krakow, 2016).

I served as head of the “Geometry and Image” Department at Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann, University of Grenoble from 2012 to 2016.

I am the scientific leader of the IMAGINE team since May 2016. 



Publication list of Rémi Ronfard


  • 1986 : MsC in Engineering, Ecole des Mines de Paris.
  • 1991 : PhD in Computer Science, Ecole des Mines de Paris.
  • 2009 : HDR in Computer Science, Grenoble University.
  • 2012 : Qualification for Professorship in Computer Science (2012).

Appointments held

  • Since 2002 : Researcher at INRIA (CR1).
  • 2007-2008 : Team leader for Virtual Cinematography R&D, Xtranormal Technologies, Montreal, Canada.
  • 2000-2001 : Visiting scientist, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, USA.
  • 1994-2000 : Research Engineer, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, including 3 years as team leader for European Project DiVAN : Distributed Video Archive Network.
  • 1992-1994 : Post-doc, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, USA.
  • 1991-1992 : Research Engineer, Dassault Systèmes.

Research interests and Publications

  • Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, Video Indexing.
  • 8 PhD thesis (co-advised)
  • Publications :

5 most cited publications :

  • R Ronfard: Region-based strategies for active contour models, International Journal of Computer Vision 13 (2), 229-251, 1994.
  • R Ronfard, J Rossignac: Full-range approximation of triangulated polyhedra. Computer Graphics Forum 15 (3), 67-76, 1996.
  • D Weinland, R Ronfard, E Boyer:A survey of vision-based methods for action representation, segmentation and recognition. Computer Vision and Image Understanding, 2011
  • D. Weinland, R. Ronfard, E. Boyer: Free viewpoint action recognition using motion history volumes. Computer Vision and Image Understanding 1 (2), 2006.
  • D. Weinland, E Boyer, R Ronfard: Action recognition from arbitrary views using 3d exemplars. ICCV 2007.

Local scientific leadership :

  • Member of the « Commission de Spécialistes » (selection jury for assistant professors), Université Joseph Fourier (2005-2007).
  • Leader of the INRIA-Brown University Associate Team VAMP (Video and Mesh Processing for 3D Cinematography) with Gabriel Taubin et Chad Jenkins (2005-2007).
  • Head of Image and Geometry Department at Laboratoire Jean Kuntzman (LJK), Grenoble University, since September 2011.

Service to the community :

  • International expert in the MPEG group (1997-1999).
  • Co-organizer of international workshop on “Modeling People and Human Interaction”, associated with ICCV in Beijing, 2005 (with Pascal Fua, Adrian Hilton, Daniel Gatica-Perez and Marian Stewart Bartlett).
  • Co-organizer of 3 international workshops on « 3-D Cinematography » in New York 2006, Banff Center 2008 and Providence 2012 (with Gabriel Taubin).
  • Co-editor of the book « 3-D Cinematography » published by Springer-Verlag in 2010.
  • Co-organizer of the Eurographics Workshop on Intelligent Cinematography and Editing (WICED) and Computational Model of Narrative (CMN) series.

Curriculum Vitae

Education PhD in Computer Science Title: Variational principles for tracking color object contours in video Supervisors : Henri Maître and Jean-Marie Monget. Date: February 1991 School: Mines Paris Tech Habilitation (HDR) Title: Automatic film analysis – from image sequences to action sequences. Readers: Roger Mohr (Grenoble University), Jean Ponce (Ecole Normale Supérieure) and Andrew Zisserman (Oxford …

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Breaking News

December 2016: We are starting two new research projects: COLLODI 2 on next-generation character animation, and ULTRAHD on ultra-high definition video editing of live performances. I am teaching a class on advanced 3-D animation in the MOSIG Masters at ENSIMAG Grenoble. October 2016: I was promoted to a senior scientist position at INRIA (directeur de …

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Recent Results

Continuity editing of 3D animation (AAAI 2015) We describe an optimization-based approach for automatically creating well-edited movies from a 3D animation. We review the main causes of editing errors in literature and propose an edit-ing model relying on a minimization of such errors. We make a plausible semi-Markov assumption, resulting in a dynamic programming solution …

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Research Topics

Narrative contents such as interactive games and animated movies are a major application domain for computer graphics, with implications in entertainment, education, cultural heritage, scientific communication, and professional training. In those applications, the creation of 3-D content cannot be limited to the production of shapes and motions ; it should also include the necessary steps to organize shapes …

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PhD Students I don’t have any PHD students right now. If you are interested in starting a PHD with me, please send me a CV and a copy of your Master’s degree and thesis report. Post-Doc Students Adela Barbulescu completed her PhD thesis in November : Directing virtual actors by interaction and mutual imitation. Starting December 1, she …

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I am teaching three courses this year (2016-2017) 1. Game Engine Programming (M2 IMAGINA, University of Montpellier)   2. Advanced Computer Graphics (M2 MOSIG, University of Grenoble Alpes) Overview of the course November 29: Character animation, rigging and skinning December 6 : Kinematic methods in animation December 13  : Dynamic methods in animation January 3 : Selected papers in 3D …

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Research Projects


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