Prominence Driven Character Animation

Charlie Cullen, Dublin Institute of Technology
Paula McGloin, Dublin Institute of Technology
Anna Deegan, Dublin Institute of Technology
Evin McCarthy, DIT

Document Type Conference Paper

CVMP '10 Proceedings of the 2010 Conference on Visual Media Production, 17-18th November, 2010, London, England, pg 171-178, IEEE Computer Society Washington, DC, USA ©2010 ISBN: 978-0-7695-4268-3 doi>10.1109/CVMP.2010.28


This paper details the development of a fully automated system for character animation implemented in Autodesk Maya. The system uses prioritised speech events to algorithmically generate head, body, arms and leg movements alongside eyeblinks, eyebrow movements and lip-synching. In addition, gaze tracking is also generated automatically relative to the definition of focus objects- contextually important objects in the character's worldview. The plugin uses an animation profile to store the relevant controllers and movements for a specific character, allowing any character to run with the system. Once a profile has been created, an audio file can be loaded and animated with a single button click. The average time to animate is between 2-3 minutes for 1 minute of speech, and the plugin can be used either as a first pass system for high quality work or as part of a batch animation workflow for larger amounts of content as exemplified in television and online dissemination channels.