Rabbie back to life for Burns Night

Alasdair Clark

Robert Burns has been “brought back to life” with new animation technology

SCOTLAND’S BARD Robert Burns can now be seen reciting his work after groundbreaking new facial animation work brings him to life in 2018.

For the first time, facial reconstruction experts at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) worked in collaboration with the Scots poet Rab Wilson, the University of Dundee and Dimensional Imaging (DI4D) in Glasgow to produce a real-life animation.

The work to create the animation has been ongoing since 2010, when Rab Wilson teamed up with Professor of Craniofacial Identification Caroline Wilkinson to depict the living face of Robert Burns and those behind the project have said the techniques used have the potential to transform the way we interact with history through famous historical figures.

Face Lab at LJMU revisited their facial depiction of Burns in 2016 and recreated his face using the latest 3D digital technology from a partial cast of his skull, along with Burns documentation, portraits, silhouettes and written descriptions.

Using specialist animation skills and the latest CGI technology, Wilson was recorded reciting “To a Mouse” using DI4D’s Facial Motion Capture System at the 3D Visualisation Unit at the University of Dundee.

Director of LJMU Face Lab Professor Caroline Wilkinson said: “This real-life animation of Robert Burns has brought the poetry of this Scots Bard back to life for generations to come. It will help to promote Scottish culture and to visualise his charismatic and creative personality.

“To see Burns reciting his own poetry was a remarkable moment.”

She added: “Face Lab’s facial animation research is important as there is potential to apply facial animation techniques to animate faces of people from the past produced via facial reconstruction from human remains.”

Picture courtesy of Liverpool John Moores University

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