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Animating Quadrupeds: Methods and Applications

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Abstract

Films like Shrek, Madagascar, The Chronicles of Narnia and Charlotte's web all have something in common: realistic quadruped animations. While the animation of animals has been popular for a long time, the technical challenges associated with creating highly realistic, computer generated creatures have been receiving increasing attention recently. The entertainment, education and medical industries have increased the demand for simulation of realistic animals in the computer graphics area. In order to achieve this, several challenges need to be overcome: gathering and processing data that embodies the natural motion of an animal – which is made more difficult by the fact that most animals cannot be easily motion-captured; building accurate kinematic models for animals, with adapted animation skeletons in particular; and developing either kinematic or physically-based animation methods, either by embedding some a priori knowledge about the way that quadrupeds locomote and/or adopting examples of real motion. In this paper, we present an overview of the common techniques used to date for realistic quadruped animation. This includes an outline of the various ways that realistic quadruped motion can be achieved, through video-based acquisition, physics based models, inverse kinematics or some combination of the above.

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