For my senior project (Spring 2010), I am working on improving character animation through the use of overlays. I will particularly look at how it can impact and improve animation in video games. I will be posting my progress on about a weekly basis on my project blog. The work will primarily be done using C++, OpenGL, OGRE, and Qt.
Blending is a fundamental method of generating new motions for character animation in video games. One particular type of motion blending known as overlays is widely used in the video game industry but has not been significantly explored in research literature. Overlays allow you to combine the upper body of one character motion with the lower body of another character motion. For example, you can combine a motion of a character drinking a cup of water with a motion of a character walking to obtain a single composition of the two motions, a character drinking water while walking. As it is difficult to capture every combination of motion desired, overlays provide a powerful and efficient alternative.
The purpose of this project will be to explore methods in implementing overlays and how they may be used in video games. The initial step will involve creating an interface to transplant the upper body of one character motion to the lower body of another character motion to create a composite character motion, without considering the quality of the result. The next step will be automating the generation of these overlays by considering how physically correct the resulting motion would be as well as taking into account any other necessary constraints to create character motions that look human. The final part of the project will be using the generated overlay motions in a game environment to examine the results.
A sample video will be posted soon.