Prof. James F. O’Brien


Professor of Computer Science

University of California at Berkeley

I am a professor in the Computer Science Division of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. I received my doctorate in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

I am generally interested in most areas of Computer Graphics and Animation. My primary area of research involves the physically based simulation of complex deformable and fluid systems to generate motion for use in computer animation.

Publications       Courses        Collaborators        Miscellaneous        F.A.Q.

The Berkeley Computer Graphics Group


Academy Award:

  1. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement ( A Sci-Tech Oscar ):

  2. To Ben Cole for the design of the Kali Destruction System, to Eric Parker for the development of the Digital Molecular Matter toolkit, and to James O’Brien for his influential research on the finite element methods that served as a foundation for these tools.

  3. The combined innovations in Kali and DMM provide artists with an intuitive, art-directable system for the creation of scalable and realistic fracture and deformation simulations. These tools established finite element methods as a new reference point for believable on-screen destruction.

Recent/upcoming talks and papers:

  1. SIGGRAPH 2014

  2. Adaptive Tearing and Cracking of Thin Sheets

  3. T. Pfaff, R. Narain, J. M. de Joya, J. F. O'Brien

  4. Exposing Photo Manipulation from Shading and Shadows

  5. E. Kee, J. F. O'Brien, H. Farid

  6. Self-Refining Games using Player Analytics

  7. M. Stanton, B. Humberston, B. Kase, J. F. O'Brien, K. Fatahalian, A. Treuille 

  8. SCA 2014

  9. View-Dependent Adaptive Cloth Simulation

  10. W. Koh, R. Narain, J. F. O'Brien

  11. Adobe Creative Technologies Lab

  12. Invited Talk: Geometric Image Forensics

  13. SIGGRAPH Asia 2013

  14. Fast Simulation of Mass-Spring Systems

  15. T. Liu, A. Bargteil, J. O'Brien, L. Kavan


Contact Information:

  1. EECS, Computer Science Division

  2. 527 Soda Hall, Mail Code 1776

  3. University of California at Berkeley

  4. Berkeley, California 94720-1776

  1. Office Phone: (510) 642-0865

  2. E-Mail:

Fall 2016 Office Hours:

  1. Wednesdays 4:00 - 5:00 pm

Images from current and past research projects.

Images link to further information.

2015 Oscars: 
Scientific and Technical Awards