Richard Roberts

Finding software solutions to help free cartoonists’ creativity.

For his PhD thesis in Computer Graphics, Richard Roberts is working on an algorithm which will allow animators to create cartoons more easily.

It will allow them to exaggerate the motion of their characters beyond the laws of physics, using a knob to tune the energy of an animation.

Richard has taken up drawing to allow him to try out his ideas outside the computer. He’s taking life drawing and water colour classes alongside his PhD to better understand the needs of animators.

Richard puts it this way: “You wouldn’t design a race car without learning to drive—so I thought I’d better get drawing.”

International reputation of staff

Richard completed his undergraduate degree through the School of Design Innovation, but made the move to the School of Engineering and Computer Science for his PhD as his work was becoming more and more technical. His supervisor John Lewis was another draw card for the Engineering Faculty.


Richard says the switch to Engineering has been a challenging one: “the math side of things was pretty new to me, it’s been a challenge, but an enjoyable one.”

Internship at Weta

During his undergraduate degree he got an internship at Weta where he worked on an asset tracking system that gives animators an overview of where assets are and provided a way for artists and technicians to communicate with each other. His work even got him into the credits for Tin Tin. Richard’s time at Weta convinced him of where he wanted to be and propelled him into his Masters and then his PhD.