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Exploiting quaternions to support expressive interactive character motion

By 1971- Michael Patrick Johnson


A real-time motion engine for interactive synthetic characters, either virtual or physical, needs to allow expressivity and interactivity of motion in order to maintain the illusion of life. Canned animation examples from an animator or motion capture device are expressive, but not very interactive, often leading to repetition. Conversely, numerical procedural techniques such as Inverse Kinematics (IK) tend to be very interactive, but often appear "robotic" and require parameter tweaking by hand. We argue for the use of hybrid example-based learning techniques to incorporate expert knowledge of character motion in the form of animations into an interactive procedural engine. Example-based techniques require appropriate distance metrics, statistical analysis and synthesis primitives, along with the ability to blend examples; furthermore, many machine learning techniques are sensitive to the choice of representation. We show that a quaternion representation of the orientation of a joint affords us computational efficiency along with mathematical robustness, such as avoiding gimbal lock in the Euler angle representation. We show how to use quaternions and their exponential mappings to create distance metrics on character poses, perform simple statistical analysis of joint motion limits and blend multiple poses together. We demonstrate these joint primitives on three techniques which we consider useful for combining animation knowledge with procedural algorithms: 1) pose blending, 2) joint motion statistics and 3) expressive IK. We discuss several projects designed using these primitives and offer insights for programmers building real-time motion engines for expressive interactive Michael Patrick Johnson.Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2003.Includes bibliographical references (p. 261-266)

Topics: Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Year: 2003
OAI identifier:
Provided by: DSpace@MIT

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