A Kinect-based Interface to Animate Virtual Characters
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Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces 7 (4): 269-279 (December 2013)

Most virtual characters' animations are based on armatures to manipulate the characters' body parts (rigging). Armatures behave as the characters' skeletons, and their segments are referred to as bones. Each bone of the skeleton is associated with a well defined set of vertices defining the character' mesh (skinning), thus allowing animators to control movements and deformations of the character itself. This paper presents a natural and intuitive interface, which uses the Microsoft Kinect, to interactively control an armature by tracking body poses. Animators can animate virtual characters in real-time by their own body poses, thus obtaining realistic and smooth animations. Moreover, the proposed interface allows animators to save time with respect to the traditional animation technique based on keyframing. Different examples are used to compare the Kinect-based interface with the keyframing approach, thus obtaining both an objective and a subjective assessment.
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