Despite the maturity in solutions for animating expressive virtual characters, innovations realizing the creative intent of story writers have yet to make the same strides. The key challenge is to provide an accessible, yet expressive interface for story authoring that enables the rapid prototyping, iteration, and deployment of narrative concepts.We present CANVAS, a computer-assisted visual authoring tool for synthesizing multi-character animations from sparsely-specified narrative events. In a process akin to storyboarding, authors lay out the key plot points in a story, and our system automatically fills in the missing details to synthesize a 3D animation that meets author constraints. CANVAS can be used by artists and directors to pre-visualize storyboards in an iterative fashion, and casual users may provide arbitrarily sparse specifications and harness automation to rapidly generate diverse narratives. CANVAS provides an accessible interface for rapidly authoring and pre-visualizing complex narratives. Automation reduces the authoring effort further without undermining creative control or interfering with the storytelling process.
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