DeepMotion Team Spotlight: Jiayi Chong

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am currently DeepMotion’s Technical Director. I am involved in leading a team to architect, design, and implement our next generation AI-driven, physics based animation pipeline toolkit.

I view the most exciting thing about what we do is the application of math/physics/computer science in the production of art and animation.

What brought you to DeepMotion?

In my previous life, I was a R&D Technical Director at Pixar, developing soft-body and fluid dynamics tools in the production of animation and feature films. I was attracted to DeepMotion because of the company’s vision of combining the cutting edge in machine learning/AI research with the generation of realistic character physics-based motion in a rather groundbreaking way.

What excites you most when you come into work?

I think we have a very strong team with deep knowledge in graphics, animation, and machine learning. Working with very good people means you learn a lot from each other every day, plus getting to work on cool tech.

You developed Creature—explain what inspired you to first build the product? In what ways do you want Creature to influence the world of 2D animation?

Having worked on 3D animation/simulation technology for most of my career, I decided to bring the advanced capabilities of what we are normally accustomed to in professional 3D software into the 2D realm. To me, 2D animation has its own unique charm that is not found in 3D animation. That is the reason many people enjoy cartoons, anime, etc in addition to big budget hollywood CG blockbusters.

I truly believe there is a lot to be done in 2D animation; a lot of super cool character simulation and effects from the 3D world equally apply to their 2D counterparts. To me, the dimensionality ( 3D vs 2D ) is just one factor of what makes great animation; Creature is thus first and foremost an animation tool. It just so happens to be a 2D animation tool with some very advanced functionality found typically in enterprise 3D software. I hope that animators and artists using Creature can take 2D animation to the next level by adding a layer of character dynamics not typically seen in traditional 2D animation.

Where do you think the industry is going? How do you want to see DeepMotion’s work impact the world?

I think the industry will continue to steer towards using machine learning/deep learning based solutions combined with physics simulation to produce compelling animation/motion content. The combination of AI and graphics is what will push the industry forward in the coming years.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of DeepMotion?

I do wildlife (mostly bird) photography outside of work. It is a very fulfilling and challenging hobby in my opinion. You can check out some of my work here.

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