Department of Computer Science at UH

University of Houston

Department of Computer Science

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

Binh Huy Le

Will defend his dissertation

Example-based Rigging and Real-time Animation
of Characters with Linear Skinning Models


The creation of character animation of human, animals or plants plays one of the most important roles in computer graphics with tremendous applications on creating motion pictures, video games, and virtual worlds. To this day, one of the most popular character animation techniques is skinning, where a set of low dimensional control parameters is mapped to the high dimensional geometric shape of the character model. Once the skinning model is setup, a manipulation on control parameters is propagated to the surface of the model accordingly, generating articulations and deformations of the character model. Skinning techniques allow effective control of animation from different sources, such as artist input or motion capture data. In addition, skinning techniques can be used to accelerate the animation rendering or compress the motion data. This dissertation explores fundamental problems in the skinning pipeline including the model set up and the hardware accel erated rendering of animation. We only focus on linear skinning models with using bone transformations as the controller.

To setup the skinning model, we propose example-based rigging techniques to extracts the linear blend skinning (LBS) model from mesh sequence of the character model in different poses. The output LBS model consists of sparse, convex and smooth skinning weights and rigid (orthogonal) bone transformations with or without a skeleton structure. The key contributions of our rigging technique are: (1) A fast iterative linear solver to optimize the orthogonal bone transformations, (2) A problem formulation and optimization method to accurately constraint bone rotations around skeleton joints, (3) A rigidness Laplacian regularizer to constraint the smoothness of skinning weights, and (4) A robust method to extract the skeleton structure from an over-completed initialized solution.

To accelerate the rendering of the LBS model during animation, we introduce a two-layer linear blend skinning model which can substantially reduce the computational cost of a dense-weight LBS model with insignificant loss of its visual quality. This two-layer model allows fast skinning animation without requiring the sparseness constraint on the skinning weights (dense-weight), which offers more flexibility on applications of the LBS model. The two-layer model is constructed by sparse coding technique with directly using dense skinning weights or with using additional example poses to further improve its accuracy.


Date: Friday, April 11, 2014
Time: 10:30 AM
Place: PGH 550

Faculty, students, and the general public are invited.
Advisor: Prof. Zhigang Deng