Virtual hand shadow theatrics

If you, like Raymond Crowe shown above, are a professional hand-shadow artist (viz. a shadowgrapher according to Wikpedia) then you might think that your job is one of the relatively few that is unlikely to be replicated by a computer any time soon. Think again. Work underway at the IMAGINE (Intuitive Modeling and Animation for Interactive Graphics & Narrative Environments) Laboratory, Grenoble, France, is attempting just that. Here, they announce an M.Sc. / Ph.D. internship opportunity :

“The goal of the internship will be to design and implement generative methods for automatically animating virtual hands and generating shadow plays driven by objective goals, such as reproducing a given shape or motion; or visualizing a given story.”

 BONUS Shadowgraph of an exploding balloon filled with hydrogen/air (is there a mystery face at around 11 seconds, or is it an illusion?)