Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich


Authoring and Animating Painterly Characters

K. Bassett, I. Baran, J. Schmid, M. Gross, R. W. Sumner

ACM Transactions on Graphics, ACM, vol. 32, no. 5, 2013, pp. 156:1-156:12
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Artists explore the visual style of animated characters through 2D concept art, since it affords them a nearly unlimited degree of creative freedom. Realizing the desired visual style, however, within the 3D character animation pipeline is often impossible, since artists must work within the technical limitations of the pipeline toolset. In order to expand the range of possible visual styles for digital characters, our research aims to incorporate the expressiveness afforded by 2D concept painting into the computer animation pipeline as a core component of character authoring and animation. While prior 3D painting methods focus on static geometry or simple animations, we develop tools for the more difficult task of character animation. Our system shows how 3D stroke-based paintings can be deformed using standard rigging tools. We also propose a configuration-space keyframing algorithm for authoring stroke effects that depend on scene variables such as character pose or light position. During animation, our system supports stroke-based temporal keyframing for one-off effects. Our primary technical contribution is a novel interpolation scheme for configuration-space keyframing that ensures smooth, controllable results. We demonstrate several characters authored with our system that exhibit painted effects difficult to achieve with traditional animation tools.

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author = {Bassett, Katie and Baran, Ilya and Schmid, Johannes and Gross, Markus and Sumner, Robert W.},
title = {Authoring and Animating Painterly Characters},
journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
issue_date = {September 2013},
volume = {32},
number = {5},
month = oct,
year = {2013},
issn = {0730-0301},
pages = {156:1--156:12},
articleno = {156},
numpages = {12},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/2484238},
acmid = {2484238},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
keywords = {Painterly animation, expressive animation, nonphotorealistic rendering},
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