Rapid Prototyping of Character Animation


The goal of this project is to explore novel animation paradigms that allow animators to quickly create and edit expressive motion sequences. We aim to develop low-learning-curve techniques that are suitable for both novice and expert animators.

Project Members

   Mira Dontcheva
   Gary Yngve
   Zoran Popović


Dontcheva, M., Yngve, G., and POPOVIĆ, Z. Layered Acting for Character Animation. 
To appear in ACM Transactions on Graphics (ACM SIGGRAPH 2003). [PDF]

Layered Acting for Character Animation

We introduce an acting-based animation system for creating and editing character animation at interactive speeds. Our system requires minimal training, typically under an hour, and is well suited for rapidly prototyping and creating expressive motion. A real-time motion-capture framework records the user's motions for simultaneous analysis and playback on a large screen. The animator's real-world, expressive motions are mapped into the character's virtual world. Visual feedback maintains a tight coupling between the animator and character. Complex motion is created by layering multiple passes of acting. We also introduce a novel motion-editing technique, which derives implicit relationships between the animator and character. The
animator mimics some aspect of the character motion, and the system infers the association between features of the animator's motion and those of the character. The animator modifies the mimic by acting again, and the system maps the changes onto the character. We demonstrate our system with several examples.


This spider animation was created in 20 minutes.


This boxing sequence was edited in five minutes to include character interaction.

We use the implicit mapping to edit the arm swing of this walking sequence.

The animator changes the direction of spin to edit this jumping sequence.



This research is supported by