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Visually-Animated Characters



Figure: A synthetic character taking direction from a human user who is being tracked in 3-D with stereo vision

A literal mapping is one that treats the tracking features as exactly what they are: evidence about the physical configuration of the user in the real world. In this context the tracking information becomes useful for understanding simple pointing gestures. With quite a bit more work, systems can use this information to estimate a more complete picture of the user's configuration.

Complex 3-D characters can be built up and rendered using high-speed graphics rendering hardware, but they tend to lack natural coordinated movement because animators have to move joint angles individually. This problem is often solved using ``motion-capture'' systems in which a user is instrumented with accurate sensors to measure the locations and angles of joints whose dynamic trajectories are used to animate corresponding locations and angles of joints on the character (see Figure 8).

In a perceptual space instrumented with multiple cameras, the same procedure can be done passively with vision systems. We have implemented a system in which the stereo system described in Section 2.3, is combined with a literal mapping between user configuration and corresponding parts of an animated character.

The system allows the user to animate the 3-D head and hand movements of a virtual puppet by executing the corresponding motions in the perceptual space. The features from the vision system drive the endpoints of a kinematic engine inside the puppet.

Christopher R. Wren
Thu Jul 10 10:04:10 EDT 1997