Richard Southern

Dr Richard Southern

  • Principal Academic in Computer Animation
  • Weymouth House W243, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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Richard is joint Head of Department at the National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University, the leading school for education and research in Computer Animation and Visual Effects in the UK and one of the top 5 worldwide. He has undertaken research in many areas of Computer Graphics, including dynamical modelling, geometry processing, virtual reality and real-time rendering. In collaboration with partners in the Visual Effects industry he continues to develop high performance solutions to problems in fluid and physical simulations with practical applications in film production.


My main research direction is in the simulation of human locomotion using principles from biomechanics and robotics, with applications in real-time motion synthesis in computer games, robotics and rehabilitation. I currently supervise a PhD student on this topic.

The Bystander Project is a collaboration between four academic institutions to determine factors affecting the likelihood of intervention in violent emergencies in virtual reality. I develop new tools and applications which integrate the modeling and animation production pipelines and explore new, simpler methodologies for specifying animation sequences, exemplified by my work on continuous level of detail, physically--based modeling and the simulation of sliding skin.

Deformable models (e.g. skinning, free form deformation) are common tools employed by animators to pose and deform characters and objects. I have developed a method to automatically deduce Least Squares Mesh representations from examples, and to deduce external cages for cage-based deformations.

Animation can be represented by combining it with geometric information to form a hypersurface encapsulating an animating sequence. My PhD thesis describes a method to construct a higher dimensional simplicial complex from arbitrary input shapes, for the purposes representing animation sequences between models which can encode arbitrary topological changes.

Journal Articles


  • Southern, R., Marais, P. and Blake, E., 2001. Generic Memoryless Polygonal Simplification. Computer graphics, virtual reality and visualisation in Africa: Proceedings of the 1st international Conference:AFRIGRAPH 2001, Camps Bay, Cape Town South Africa, November 5-7, 2001. New York: ACM, 7-15.
  • Southern, R., Perkins, S., Steyn, B., Muller, A., Marais, P. and Blake, E., 2001. A Stateless Client for Progressive View-Dependent Transmission. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on 3D Web Technology. New York: ACM, 43-50.



PhD Students

  • Min Jiang. Simulation of Dynamic Foam
  • Paras Salunkhe. Passive Dynamics for Computer Animation
  • Richard Jones, 2017. Controllable Fluid
  • Declan Russell, 2019. Sampling methods in Rendering

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Principles and Practice of Programming
  • Object Oriented Programming and Graphics
  • Object Oriented Programming for Graphics
  • Principles of Rendering
  • Major Project and Report
  • Masterclasses in Computer Graphics Techniques
  • Collaborative Research Project
  • Advanced Graphics Software Development Techniques

Invited Lectures

  • SPH Sampling and its Applications, Manchester University, 12 Apr 2018 more


  • Robot Controllers for Character Animation (CDE / BU, 01 Jan 2015). Awarded
  • How Do We Move? Building a mathematical model for motion adaptation from biological principles (Center for Digital Entertainment, 01 Feb 2013). Awarded

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • In November 2015 I was personally contacted by Sean Kirkagaard, a commissioning editor for CNN International, to arrange a group of current or past students to work on a short (45s) animation to accompany an interview as part of their "Visionaries 2020" special feature. The concept was to pair visionary researchers with visionary animators to create visually engaging ways to convey complex concepts to the general public. I recruited a team students to undertake this project, alongside their other coursework, to create an animation to accompany an interview with Professor Julia Greer at CalTech. Along with Peter Truckell I acted as producer and liaison between the team and the researchers at CalTech, allowing us to come up with creative ways to convey those ideas and they developed an original and innovative colour palette and recognisable style to communicate the concepts. The students were paid a small commissioning fee of £150 per student, but being broadcast is its own reward. If the final animation was not up to a satisfactory standard then it would not have been broadcast, but the commissioning editor said: "Richard I'm so impressed with this! Fantastic effort and bravo you and your team!" What our clip and others here: The impact on the students experience is incalculable. Experience in working on a live brief in a team with a real client during only their second year of study is of exceptional value, but having their excellent work reach a global audience via recurring broadcast on CNNi and the continual availability on the CNN site has meant that both our students and the NCCA have enjoyed worldwide recognition for our work, and reinforced our international status for excellence.
  • Festival of Learning talk, 2014

Consultancy Activities

  • Double Negative C++ short course, A series of lectures delivered at Double Negative on programming.. Double Negative studios, London, Jon Macey, 01 Nov 2014


  • PhD in Computer Science (Cambridge University, 2007)
  • PGCE in Education Practice (HEFCE, 2013)
  • MSc in Computer Science (University of Cape Town, South Africa, 2003)
  • BSc (Hons) in Computer Science (University of Cape Town, South Africa, 2001)


  • ACM Siggraph, Member (2009-),
  • Bournemouth University Senate, Member (2015-),
  • Faculty Academic Standards Committee, Member (2013-),
  • Faculty Education and Student Experience Committee, Member (2015-),
  • Faculty Research Degrees Committee, Member (2011-),
  • Higher Education Academy, Associate Fellow (2012-),
  • Special Interest Group in Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics, Member (2017-),
The data on this page was last updated at 08:33 on June 26, 2019.