CS 6204 Character Animation, Research and Applications
Spring 2009

Lecture: TR 5:00-6:15pm MCB 204
Instructor: Yong Cao
Phone: (540) 231-0415
Email: yongcao@vt.edu
Office Hour: TR 2:00-3:30pm McBryde 122

Course Description: Character animation is an important research topic in Computer Graphics. It has a wide range of applications in the area of feature films, video games, 3D simulation in social science, virtual environment, and many more. In this course, students are going to refresh their knowledge on basic character animation techniques, learn the state of art research, identify open problems, and produce innovative solutions.

Learning Goals

Student should be able to:

  • Understand basic techniques and algorithms for Character Animation,
  • Construct graphics application with Character Animation modules,
  • Read and understand state-of-art research publications, and identify contributions and limitations of each paper,
  • Propose novel research ideas towards the open problems in Character Animation, and demonstrate these ideas with promising results.

Course Structure

At the beginning of semester, a series of lectures will be given. These lectures are going to cover some basic concepts and techniques in Character Animation. Then, students are going to present and discuss several papers from a provided list. During the semester, students are also going to finish one programming assignment and one research project.

  • Programming Assignment: There will be two programming assignments for the course. The first assignment will be announced at the beginning of week 3, and due at the end of week 4. The second assignment will be announced at the beginning at week 5, and dute at the end of week 6. The assignment will test the knowledge on how to implement a basic charactater animation system.
  • Paper Presentation: After lectures at the first two weeks, students are going to read 2-4 papers each week and submit a report of summary. At each class, a student will be assigned to present these papers and lead the discussion. The paper list can be found in the Resource webpage.
  • Project: The topic of each project will be picked by each project team. Each project team includes two students, and is required to submit project proposal (at least 8 pages) and final project report (at least 12 pages).

Core Topics

  • Full Body Animation
    • General topics
    • Data driven models: motion graph, statistical models
    • Physics based approaches
    • Skinning and deformation
  • Facial Animation
    • General topics
    • Lip syncing
    • Expressions
    • Physical models
  • Crowd Simulation
    • General topics
    • Agent-based models
    • Interactive Control
  • Hand Animation
  • Hair Animation

Materials and References

There is no required Text Book for this course. We use the literatures from conference and journal papers. You can use the following list as reference materials:

  1. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH, available at the ACM digital library, www.acm.org.
  2. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, available at the ACM digitial library, www.acm.org.
  3. Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques, A. Watt and M. Watt, Addison-Wesley ISBN 0-201-54412-1.
  4. Computer Animation Algorithms and Techniques, Rick Parent, Morgna Kaufmann, ISBN 1-55860-579-7.

Grading Scheme

  • Class participation: 5%
  • Programming Assignment: 15%
  • Paper presentation: 30%.
  • Project: 50%, including proposal, presentation and final report.


The Honor Code will be strictly enforced. It is a violation to represent joint work as your own or to let others use your work; always acknowledge any assistance you received in preparing work that bears your name. You are expected to work independently unless explicitly permitted to collaborate on a particular project. It is not a violation to discuss approaches to programs with others; however, it IS a violation to use code fragments in your program that have been written by others without acknowledging the source.