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Weta Digital is active in both practical and foundational research and development as a means to improve the quality of our work and to stay competitive in the global market for visual effects. We believe in pursuing new and promising scientific inquiry that can provide efficiency and introduce a greater level of creativity. Our efforts include partnership with universities and other centers of research as well as other visual effects facilities. Open Source initiatives and relationships with the commercial market are both important avenues to help us to push the boundaries of what can be done. In a world where today’s innovation is tomorrow’s limitation, staying out in front is vital in an industry that thrives on creativity.

Our Research group is interested in creating a local innovation ecosystem around new technologies relevant to the VFX industry and seeing like-minded NZ companies succeed internationally. If you are interested in making contact with us regarding commercial or technical opportunities please email us at

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Recent Publications


  • Creating an Actor-specific Facial Rig from Performance Capture

  • Yeongho Seol, Wan-Chun Ma, J.P. Lewis
    DigiPro (2016)

  • SketchiMo: Sketch-based Motion Editing for Articulated Characters

  • Byungkuk Choi, Roger Blanco i Ribera, J. P. Lewis, Yeongho Seol, Seokpyo Hong, Haegwang Eom, Sunjin Jung, Junyong Noh
    SIGGRAPH (2016)

    Large Scale VFX Pipelines

    Andy Wright, Matt Chambers, Justin Israel, Nick Shore
    DigiPro (2016)


  • Manifold6Next Event Estimation

  • Johannes Hanika, Marc Droske, Luca Fascione
    EGSR (2015)

  • Interaction Interactive Manipulation of Large Scale Crowd Animation

  • Yeongho Seol (Weta Digital), Jongmin Kim (Seoul National University), Taesoo Kwon (Hangyang University), Jehee Lee (Seoul National University)
    SIGGRAPH (2014)


  • Adaptive Nonlinearity for Collisions in Complex Rod Assemblies

  • Brennan Smith (Columbia University), Danny Kaufman (Adobe Systems Incorporated), Rasmus Tarnstor (Walt Disney Animation Studios), Eitan Grinspun (Columbia University), Jean-Marie Aubry (Weta Digital)
    SIGGRAPH (2014) 

  • Fast Implicit Simulation of Flexible Trees

  • Jean-Marie Aubry, Xian Xiao
    MEIS (2014)

  • Can we solve the Pipeline Problem?

  • J.P Lewis, Alasdair Coull
    Digipro (2014)

  • Hero Wavelength Spectral Samplin

  • A Wilkie, S Nawaz, M Droske, A. Weidlich, J. Hanika
    EGSR (2014)

  • Importance Sampling Microfacet-Based BSDF's using the distribution of Visible Normals

  • Eric Heitz, Eugene D'Eon
    EGSR (2014) 


  • Importance Sampling for Physically-Based Hair Fiber Models

  • Eugene d'Eon, Johannes Hanika, Steve Marschner (Cornell University)
    EGSR (2013)


  • Out-Of-Core Computations of High-Resolution Level Sets by Means of Code Transformation

  • Brian Christensen, Michael Nielsen & Ken Museth

    Journal of Scientific Computing (2012)

  • A Blendshape Model that Incorporates Physical Interaction

    Wan-Chun Ma, Yi-Hau Wang, Graham Fyffe, Bing-Yu Chen, and Paul Debevec.
    Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds (Proceedings of the 25th Annual Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents, Singapore, 2012)

  • A Facial Composite Editor for Blendshape Characters

  • Wan-Chun Ma, Marco Barbati, J.P. Lewis
    ACM Digital Production Symposium 2012

  • Synthesizing Waves from Animated Height Fields

    Michael B. Nielsen, Andreas Söderström, Robert Bridson
    ACM Transactions on Graphics 2012

  • Polynomial Optics: A Construction Kit for Efficient Ray-Tracing of Lens Systems

    Matthias B. Hullin, Johannes Hanika and Wolfgang Heidrich
    Computer Graphics Forum / Proceedings of EUROGRAPHICS Symposium on Rendering (EGSR) 2012

  • Camera Space Volumetric Shadows

    Martin Hill, Luca Fascione, Johannes Hanika, Peter Hillman
    Digital Production Symposium (DigiPro) 2012

  • Spacetime Expression Cloning for Blendshapes

    Yeongho Seol, J.P. Lewis, Jaewoo Seo, Byungkuk Choi, Ken Anjyo, Junyong Noh
    ACM Transactions on Graphics (2012)

  • Is there a Universal Image Generator?

    Cris Calude and J.P.Lewis
    Applied Mathematics and Computation (2012)


  • An Energy-Conserving Hair Reflectance Model

    Eugene D'Eon, Guillaume Francois, Martin Hill, Joe Letteri and Jean-Marie Aubry
    Eurographics Syposium on Rendering 2011

  • Compression and Direct Manipulation of Complex Blendshape Models

    Jaewoo Seo, Geoffrey Irving, J.P. Lewis, Junyong Noh,

  • Artist Friendly Facial Animation Retargeting

    Yeongho Seol, Jaewoo Seo, Paul Hyunjin Kim, J.P. Lewis, Junyong Noh,

  • Guide Shapes for High Resolution Naturalistic Liquid Simulation

    Michael Nielsen & Robert Bridson
    ACM Transactions on Graphics Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2011

  • A Quantized-Diffusion Model for Rendering Translucent Materials

    Eugene d'Eon & Geoffrey Irving
    ACM Transactions on Graphics Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2011

  • Edge-Aware Inpainting using Oriented (Bi)Harmonic Interpolation

    J.P. Lewis & Sebastian Sylwan, CGI 2011

  • Compression and Direct Manipulation of Complex Blendshape Models

    Jaewoo Seo, Geoffrey Irving, J.P. Lewis, Junyong Noh,

  • RBF Interpolation and Gaussian Process Regression through an RKHS Formulation

    Ken Anjyo and John Lewis,
    JMI Volume 3, 2011

  • Is there a Universal Image Synthesizer?

    Cris Calude & J.P. Lewis
    Applied Mathematics and Computation vol 218, #16, 2012.

  • A Database and Evaluation Methodology for Optical Flow

    Simon Baker, Daniel Scharstein, J.P. Lewis, Stefan Roth, Michael J. Black, & Richard Szeliski
    International Journal of Computer Vision, 92, 1, 2011

  • Scan-Based Volume Animation Driven by Locally Adaptive Articulated Registrations

    Taehyun Rhee, J. P. Lewis, Ulrich Neumann, Krishna Nayak
    IEEE Trans. Visualisation and Computer Graphics, March 2011


  • PantaRay: Fast Ray-traced Occlusion Caching of Massive Scenes

    Jacopo Pantoleoni, Luca Fascione, Martin Hill, Timo Aila
    SIGGGRAPH 2010

  • GradientShop: A Gradient-Domain Optimization Framework for Image and Video Filtering

    Pravin Bhat, C. Lawrence-Zitnick, Michael Cohen, Brian Curless
    ACM Transactions on Graphics Volume 29 Issue 2, March 2010

  • Issues in Adapting Research Algorithms to Stereoscopic Visual Effects

    Peter Hillman, J. P. Lewis, Sebastian Sylwan, Erik Winquist
    IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, 2010

  • A Parallel Multigrid Poisson Solver for Fluids Simulation on Large Grids

    A. McAdams, E. Sifakis, J. Teran
    ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium for Computer Animation, SCA 2010

  • Multilinear Pose and Body Shape Estimation of Dressed Subjects from Image Sets

    Nils Hasler, H. Ackermann, B. Rosenhahn, T. Thormählen, H.-P. Seidel
    IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR 2010

  • State of the Art in Procedural Noise Functions

    Ares Lagae, Sylvain Lefebvre, Rob Cook, Tony DeRose, George Drettakis, D.S. Ebert, J.P. Lewis, Ken Perlin & Matthias Zwicker
    Eurographics, 2010

  • Direct Manipulation Blendshapes

    J. P. Lewis, Ken Anjyo
    IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications, special issue: Digital Human Faces, July/August 2010

  • Stable and Efficient Differential IK

    J.P. Lewis & Nebojsa Dragosavac
    Siggraph Asia, 2010 Sketches

  • Improved Variational Guiding of Smoke Animations

    Michael Nielsen
    Eurographics, 2010

  • The Application of Vision Algorithms to Visual Effects Production

    Sebastian Sylwan
    ACCV, 2010

  • Computational Physics in Film

    R. Bridson & C. Batty
    Science 330, 2010


  • Identifying Salient Points

    J.P. Lewis & Ken Anjyo
    SIGGRAPH Asia, 2009 Sketches


  • Adaptive Non-Rigid Registration of 3D Knee MRI in Different Poses Spaces

    Taehyun Rhee, J. P. Lewis, Krishna Nayak, Ulrich Neumann
    IEEE International Symposium On Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), 2008

  • Creating An Animatable 3D Volume Hand Model from in vivo MRI

    Taehyun Rhee, J. P. Lewis, Krishna Nayak, Ulrich Neumann
    Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR), 2008

  • Learning Optical Flow

    Deqing Sun, Stefan Roth, J. P. Lewis, Michael Black
    Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 5304, 2008


  • A Database and Evaluation Methodology for Optical Flow

    Simon Baker, Michael Black, J. P. Lewis, Stefan Roth, Daniel Scharstein, Richard Szeliski
    International Conference on Computer Vision, 2007

  • Shape Priors by Kernel Density Modeling of PCA Residual Structure

    J. P. Lewis, Iman Mostafavi, GIna Sosinsky, Maryanne E. Martone, Ruth West
    IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, 2007