Animation, Spring 2005

CS 551 (Undergrad) / CS 651 (Graduate)

Time Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 - 1:45
Place OLS 011
David Brogan (Olsson Room 217),
Office Hours: Feel free to visit when I'm in my office.. If you want to be certain to reach me, please schedule an appointment with me via email.
Office Phone: 982-2211
None, we're flying solo
Web Page
This course introduces both fundamental and advanced computer animation techniques. The course will follow both lecture and seminar formats, requiring students to prepare paper presentations and lead discussions. Such traditional animation topics as keyframing, procedural algorithms, camera control, and scene composition will be discussed. The course will also introduce modern research techniques covering dynamic simulation, motion capture, and feedback control algorithms. These topics will help prepare students for careers as technical directors in the computer animation industry and will assist students pursuing research careers.

A detailed list of topics is included below.  The student will be taught the fundamental parts of each technique and will further learn about the application of the technique through recent research papers.  An emphasis will be placed on the analysis of techniques (numerical integration, inverse kinematics, optimization), synthesis of new techniques (construct hybrid techniques for motion synthesis, use human perception to motivate motion synthesis, develop novel physically simulated group behaviors), and evaluation of high-order questions relating to animation (what does it mean to look "good enough," synthesizing motion from scratch vs. using databases of captured motions, art vs. science in computer graphics).

  • Introduction to Computer Graphics - CS 445
  • Course material requires familiarity with multivariate calculus, differential equations, probability, and linear algebra
Textbook None required.  I've used Computer Animation by Rick Parent in the past, but I'm using more research papers this year (make sure you have a way to print papers if you aren't comfortable reading online).
Assignments Approximately five programming assignments:
  • Spacetime constraints
  • Inverse kinematics
  • Motion capture reuse/retargetting
  • Rigid-body dynamical simulator
  • High-level control systems

Approximately three written homework assignments that will emphasize the fundamentals (physical simulation, least squares, optimization)

On days when research papers are presented, I will ask all students in the class to participate by posing questions about the material.  
Tests One final
Grading Assignments (50%)  Homework (20%) Final (30%)
Late Days Students have five late days that they can use in any way during the semester. Each late day extends the due date by 24 hours. Use your late days wisely; you will not be granted additional late days without a written note from the Dean's office.
Honor Code The honor code applies to all work turned in for this course. In particular, all code and documentation should be entirely your own work. You may consult with other students about high-level design strategies related to programming assignments, but you many not copy code or use the structure or organization of another students program. Said another way, you may talk with one another about your programs, but you cannot ever look at another student's code nor let another student look at your own code. Each assignment will include a specific Honor Code Guideline referring to the use of online materials.
Topics (authors of related papers in parens)
  • Traditional techniques
    • keyframing (Shoemake)
      • orientation representations (quaternion, Euler)
      • curve representations
      • interpolation (computing arclength, Gaussian Quadrature, SLERP)
  • Fitting curves to data - least squares
  • Multilink Systems
    • degrees of freedom (DOFs)
    • controlled vs. free DOFs
    • hierarchical systems
    • kinematics (Zhao&Badler)
    • joint types
    • DH / Screw notations
  • Optimization
    • simulated annealing (Numerical Recipes in C)
    • simplex
    • spacetime constraints (Witkin & Kass, Gleicher)
    • genetic algorithms (Sims)
    • neural networks (Grzeszczuk)
  • Human Motion
    • motion capture
      • retargetting (Gleicher, J. Lee, Z. Popovic, Arikan)
      • blending (Rose)
      • abstraction (Unuma)
    • walking
      •  biomechanics (McMahon, Ruina)
      • gait generation (Metaxas, van de Panne, Hodgins)
  •  Physical Simulation
    • rigid body
      • Featherstone's method
      • constraint satisfaction
    • integration
      • Runge-Kutta
      • Euler
    • simplification (Chenney, Lin, Popovic)
    • perception (O'Sullivan, Proffitt)
  • Autonomous agents
    • behaviors (Thalmann, Badler, Blumberg)
    • group behaviors (Reynolds, Brogan, Helbing)


Date Topic Reading Slides
Week 1 Jan 20 Introduction   PowerPoint
Week 2 Jan 25 Principles of Animation
O. Johnston
William Reeves' particle simulation paper from SIGGRAPH PowerPoint
  Jan 27 Rigid Body Simulation Hecker Article 1
Hecker Article 2

SIGGRAPH 88 (Natural Phenomena, Particle Dreams)
SIGGRAPH 92 (The Story of Pi, Panspermia)

Week 3 Feb 1 Rigid Body Simulation Hecker Article 3
Hecker Article 4

Rigid Body Assign Out

Feb 3 Principles of Animation
J. Lasseter
Week 4 Feb 8 Simulation Research Papers Mirtich, Timewarp rigid body simulation, SIGGRAPH 2000

Chenney and Forsyth, Sampling plausible solutions to multi-body constraint problems, SIGGRAPH 2000



Feb 10 Simulation Research Papers   PowerPoint
Week 5 Feb 15 Simulation Research Papers Hodgins et al., Judgments of human motion with different geometric models PowerPoint
  Feb 17 Kinematics Excerpt from Computer Animation by Rick Parent, 2002.

Intro to IK by Samuel Buss

Links to sections from Numerical Recipes in C (2.3, 2.5, 2.6)

Week 6 Feb 22 Kinematics Rigid Body Assign Due
(the first minute of the day)

Movie: Endgame

Feb 24 Kinematics Paper: Automatic
joint parameter estimation from magnetic motion capture data
, J. O' Brien, B. Bodenheimer, G. J. Brostow, and J. Hodgins, Graphics
Interface 2000

Joint Estimation Movie

Week 7 Mar 1 Optimization Inverse Kinematics Out PowerPoint
Mar 3 Optimization Paper: Through-the-lens camera control, M. Gleicher and A. Witkin, 1992.

Helpful documents:
Ratner, Klein, McLennan, Shapiro

Week 8 Mar 8 Spring Break    
  Mar 10 Spring Break    
Week 9 Mar 15  

Spacetime constraints, A. Witkin and M. Kass, 1988
Movie1 Movie2
Mar 17  

Evolved virtual creatures, K. Sims, 1994.
[project, movie]

Week 10 Mar 22 Automatically Generated Animation Inverse Kinematics Due

Neuroanimator, R. Grzeszczuk et al.  1998. [project]

Spacetime Homework Out

Mar 24 Motion Reuse Video textures, Schodl et al.  SIGGRAPH '00 [project]

View Morphing, Seitz and Dyer
Video Rewrite, Bregler et al.

Week 11 Mar 29 Motion Reuse Spacetime Homework Due

Spacetime Homework Solution

Video textures, Schodl et al.  SIGGRAPH '00 [project]

Controlled Animation of Video Sprites, Schodl and Essa

  Mar 31 Motion Reuse Retargeting motion to new characters, M. Gleicher.  SIGGRAPH '98 [project]

Adapting Simulated Behaviors for New Characters, Hodgins and Pollard

Week 12 Apr 5 Motion Reuse

Motion graphs, L. Kovar.  SIGGRAPH '02

Quaternions notes

  Apr 7 No Class    
Week 13 Apr 12 Guest Erik Elvgren to talk about Cavman  
Apr 14 Path Planning

Toward more realistic path finding, M. Pinter.  Gamasutra, March 14, 2001.

Realistic Human Walking Paths, Brogan and Johnson.  Computer Animation and Synthetic Agents '03.

Week 14 Apr 19 Group Behaviors

Flocks, Herds, and Schools, C. Reynolds.  SIGGRAPH '87

Artificial Fishes, X. Tu, D. Terzopoulos, SIGGARPH '94

MoCap Homework Due

  Apr 21 Group Behaviors

Reactive pedestrian path following from examples, R. Metoyer and J. Hodgins.  Computer Animation and Synthetic Agents '03. [movies]

Walking, Bicycling, Swinging paper packet handed out in class.

Swinger-Cart/Pole Out

Week 15 Apr 26 Group Behaviors

Simulating Dynamical Features of Escape Panic, D. Helbing, I. Farkas, and T. Vicsek.  Nature, September 28, 2000.

D. Helbing, Self-organisation phenomena in pedestrian crowds in Self-Organization of Complex Structures: From Individual to Collective Dynamics, 569-577

  Apr 28 Perception

The perception of visual speed while moving, F. Durgin, K. Gigone, R. Scott, J. of Experimental Psych: Human Perception and Performance.

Week 16 May 3 Review Swinger-Cart/Pole Due PowerPoint
    Final Examination