Building efficient, accurate character skins from examples
Good character animation requires convincing skin deformations including subtleties and details like muscle bulges. Such effects are typically created in commercial animation packages which provide very general and powerful tools. While these systems are convenient and flexible for artists, the generality often leads to characters that are slow to compute or that require a substantial amount of memory and thus cannot be used in interactive systems. Instead, interactive systems restrict artists to a specific character deformation model which is fast and memory efficient but is notoriously difficult to author and can suffer from many deformation artifacts. This paper presents an automated framework that allows character artists to use the full complement of tools in high-end systems to create characters for interactive systems. Our method starts with an arbitrarily rigged character in an animation system. A set of examples is exported, consisting of skeleton configurations paired with the deformed geometry as static meshes. Using these examples, we fit the parameters of a deformation model that best approximates the original data yet remains fast to compute and compact in memory.