CS 448D
Topics in Computer Graphics: Character Animation (Spring 2009)


This course will explore computational techniques for animating computer-generated characters in games, virtual worlds, movies, and other applications. The first part of the course will cover basic techniques. The second part will be devoted to reading, analyzing, and discussing research publications in character animation, with an eye towards open problems.

Contact Information

Meeting Times


WeekClass DaysDescription
Week 1April 1stIntroduction
Week 2April 6th and 8thKeyframing, interpolation, re-parameterization, quaternions
Week 3April 13th and 15thLinked structures, forward kinematics, inverse kinematics
Week 4April 20th and 22ndMotion capture: acquisition and processing
Week 8April 27th and 29thCurrent research topics
Week 5May 4th and 6thRigid body dynamics
Week 6May 11th and 13thCurrent research topics
Week 9May 18th and 20thCurrent research topics
Week 10May 27thCurrent research topics
Week 11June 1st and 3rdGuest lectures from Larry Cutler and Jason Schleifer, PDI/Dreamworks

Lecture Slides

Week 1Course Overview
Week 2Keyframing
Week 2Animating Orientation
Week 3Kinematics
Week 4Motion Capture


Monday, April 6thOptional: DeRose and Barsky, Geometric continuity, shape parameters, and geometric constructions for Catmull-Rom splines, TOG 1988
Wednesday, April 8thOptional: Shoemake, Animating rotation with quaternion curves, SIGGRAPH 1985
Wednesday, April 15thOptional: Girard and Maciejewski, Computational modeling for the computer animation of legged figures, SIGGRAPH 1985
Monday, April 27thRequired: Lasseter, Principles of traditional animation applied to 3D computer animation, SIGGRAPH 1987
Required: Witkin and Popovic, Motion warping, SIGGRAPH 1995
Wednesday, April 29thRequired: Bruderlin and Williams, Motion signal processing, SIGGRAPH 1995
Wednesday, May 6thRequired: Raibert and Hodgins, Animation of dynamic legged locomotion, SIGGRAPH 1991
Required: Hodgins et al., Animating human athletics, SIGGRAPH 1995
Monday, May 11thRequired: Witkin and Kass, Spacetime constraints, SIGGRAPH 1988
Wednesday, May 13thRequired: van de Panne et al., Reusable motion synthesis using state-space controllers, SIGGRAPH 1990
Monday, May 18thRequired: Gleicher, Motion editing with spacetime constraints, I3D 1997
Required: Gleicher, Retargeting motion to new characters, SIGGRAPH 1998
Wednesday, May 20thRequired: Rose et al., Verbs and adverbs, Computer Graphics and Applications 1998
Required: Pullen and Bregler, Motion capture assisted animation: texturing and synthesis, SIGGRAPH 2002
Wednesday, May 27thRequired: Kovar et al., Motion graphs, SIGGRAPH 2002
Required: Arikan and Forsyth, Interactive motion generation from examples, SIGGRAPH 2002
Required: Lee et al., Interactive control of avatars animated with human motion data, SIGGRAPH 2002
Monday, June 1stGuest Lecture: Larry Cutler (Character TD Supervisor on "Mastermind", PDI/Dreamworks), "Rigging and Character Setup", held in Gates 392
Wednesday, June 3rdGuest Lecture: Jason Schleifer (Head of Character Animation on "Mastermind", PDI/Dreamworks), "Animation", held in Gates 104


The course has two programming assignments, both linked to in the handout list above. The first is on inverse kinematics and the second is on motion capture.

Wednesday, April 15thAssignment 1, Inverse Kinematics: Instructions, Starting Code, Blank QuatSlerp.m
Monday, May 18thAssignment 2, Motion Capture: Instructions, Files