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Synthesizing Animations of Human Manipulation Tasks

Katsu Yamane, James Kuffner, and Jessica K. Hodgins

Abstract - Even such simple tasks as placing a box on a shelf are difficult to animate, because the animator must carefully position the character to satisfy geometric and balance constraints while creating motion to perform the task with a natural-looking style. In this paper, we explore an approach for animating characters manipulating objects that combines the power of path planning with the domain knowledge inherent in data-driven, constraint-based inverse kinematics. A path planner is used to find a motion for the object such that the corresponding poses of the character satisfy geometric, kinematic, and posture constraints. The inverse kinematics computation of the character's pose resolves redundancy by biasing the solution toward natural-looking poses extracted from a database of captured motions. Having this database greatly helps to increase the quality of the output motion. The computed path is converted to a motion trajectory using a model of the velocity profile. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the algorithm by generating animations across a wide range of scenarios that cover variations in the geometric, kinematic, and dynamic models of the character, the manipulated object, and obstacles in the scene.

Paper [PDF, 14MB] - to appear in SIGGRAPH2004

Movie [mpeg4, 27MB]

This work was supported in part by NSF Award ANI-0203912.