Computer Animation

Authored by: Nadia Magnenat Thalmann , Daniel Thalmann

Computing Handbook

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439898529
eBook ISBN: 9781439898536
Adobe ISBN:


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Most virtual worlds are dynamic; they change over time: objects move, rotate, and transform themselves; in inhabited virtual worlds, virtual characters come to life. Object and character motion is an essential part of these virtual worlds. The main goal of computer animation is to synthesize the desired motion effects, which are a mixing of natural phenomena, perception, and imagination. The animator designs the object’s dynamic behavior with his or her mental representation of causality. Animators imagine how each object moves, gets out of shape, or reacts when it is pushed, pressed, pulled, or twisted. So, the animation system has to provide the user with motion control tools that enable animators translate their wishes using their own language. Computer animation methods may also aid in the application of physical laws by adding motion control to data in order to show their evolution over time. Formally, any computer animation sequence may be defined as a set of objects characterized by state variables evolving over time. For example, a human character is normally characterized using its joint angles as state variables. To produce a computer animation sequence, the animator has several techniques available depending on the type of object to be animated. Our main focus will be character animation, which corresponds to the animation of articulated bodies (Magnenat-Thalmann 1987, 1991).

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