Matthias Nießner

Technical University of Munich, Germany

The Revolution of Neural Rendering


In this talk, I will present our research vision in how to create a photo-realistic digital replica of the real world, and how to make holograms become a reality. Eventually, I would like to see photos and videos evolve to become interactive, holographic content indistinguishable from the real world. Imagine taking such 3D photos to share with friends, family, or social media; the ability to fully record historical moments for future generations; or to provide content for upcoming augmented and virtual reality applications. AI-based approaches, such as generative neural networks, are becoming more and more popular in this context since they have the potential to transform existing image synthesis pipelines. I will specifically talk about an avenue towards neural rendering where we can retain the full control of a traditional graphics pipeline but at the same time exploit modern capabilities of deep learning, such as handling the imperfections of content from commodity 3D scans. While the capture and photo-realistic synthesis of imagery open up unbelievable possibilities for applications ranging from entertainment to communication industries, there are also important ethical considerations that must be kept in mind. Specifically, in the content of fabricated news (e.g., fake-news), it is critical to highlight and understand digitally-manipulated content. I believe that media forensics plays an important role in this area, both from an academic standpoint to better understand image and video manipulation, but even more importantly from a societal standpoint to create and raise awareness around the possibilities and moreover, to highlight potential avenues and solutions regarding trust of digital content.

Speaker’s Bio

Dr. Matthias Nießner is a Professor at the Technical University of Munich where he leads the Visual Computing Lab. Before, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Stanford University. Prof. Nießner’s research lies at the intersection of computer vision, graphics, and machine learning, where he is particularly interested in cutting-edge techniques for 3D reconstruction, semantic 3D scene understanding, video editing, and AI-driven video synthesis. In total, he has published over 70 academic publications, including 22 papers at the prestigious ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH / SIGGRAPH Asia) journal and 43 works at the leading vision conferences (CVPR, ECCV, ICCV); several of these works won best paper awards, including at SIGCHI’14, HPG’15, SPG’18, and the SIGGRAPH’16 Emerging Technologies Award for the best Live Demo.

Prof. Nießner’s work enjoys wide media coverage, with many articles featured in main-stream media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spiegel, MIT Technological Review, and many more, and his was work led to several TV appearances such as on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where Prof. Nießner demonstrated the popular Face2Face technique; Prof. Nießner’s academic Youtube channel currently has over 5 million views.

For his work, Prof. Nießner received several awards: he is a TUM-IAS Rudolph Moessbauer Fellow (2017 – ongoing), he won the Google Faculty Award for Machine Perception (2017), the Nvidia Professor Partnership Award (2018), as well as the prestigious ERC Starting Grant 2018 which comes with 1.500.000 Euro in research funding; in 2019, he received the Eurographics Young Researcher Award honoring the best upcoming graphics researcher in Europe.

In addition to his academic impact, Prof. Nießner is a co-founder and director of Synthesia Inc., a brand-new startup backed by Marc Cuban, whose aim is to empower storytellers with cutting-edge AI-driven video synthesis.