Expressing Animated Performances through Puppeteering

Project Members

Takaaki Shiratori (Microsoft Research Asia)
Moshe Mahler (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Warren Trezevant (Autodesk, Inc)
Jessica Hodgins (Disney Research Boston, Disney Research Los Angeles, Disney Research Pittsburgh)


An essential form of communication between the director and the animators early in the animation pipeline is rough cut at the motion (ablocked-in animation). This version of the character’s performance allows the director and animators to discuss how the character will play his/her role in each scene. However, blocked-in animationis also quite time consuming to construct, with short scenes requiring many hours of preparation between presentations. In this paper, we present a puppeteering interface for creating blocked-in motion for characters and various simulation effects more quickly than is possible in a key framing interface. The animator manipulates one of a set of tracked objects in a motion capture system to control a few degrees of freedom of the character on each take. We explore the design space for the 3D puppeteering interface with a set of seven professional animators using a “think-aloud” protocol. We present a number of animations that they created and compare the time required to create similar animations in our 3D user inter-face and a commercial key framing interface.

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