Interactive Techniques for High-Level Spacetime Editing lockwood/NoahLockwood_ Techniques for High-Level Spacetime Editing of Human Locomotion Noah Lockwood ... In this thesis,

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  • Interactive Techniques for High-Level Spacetime Editing of HumanLocomotion


    Noah Lockwood

    A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirementsfor the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

    Graduate Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Toronto

    c Copyright 2016 by Noah Lockwood

  • Abstract

    Interactive Techniques for High-Level Spacetime Editing of Human Locomotion

    Noah Lockwood

    Doctor of Philosophy

    Graduate Department of Computer Science

    University of Toronto


    In recent years, computer animated characters have become commonplace, often appearing

    extremely lifelike in movies, television, and video games. Unfortunately, animating digital

    characters remains difficult and time-consuming, pursued mostly by dedicated professionals,

    because conventional animation methods require careful control and coordination of many

    different low-level parameters which affect the believability of a characters pose and timing.

    In this thesis, we present techniques to allow high-level control of motions for animated

    human characters, by interactively editing existing locomotive motions. These techniques

    prioritize interactivity by allowing the user to manipulate more general or high-level aspects

    of the motion, such as a motion path. These techniques also have low data and computation

    requirements, as they operate on a single input motion without expensive optimization or

    simulation, allowing for instant feedback.

    The foundation of this work is a novel path-based editing algorithm based on simple and

    well-established biomechanical and physical principles of motion. After user manipulation of

    a motion path, the poses of the character along the path are automatically adjusted to match

    the new path, and an automatic timewarping procedure adjusts the timing of the new motion

    depending on its context, in order to remain consistent with the original even after large changes.

    Our two performance techniques utilize familiar input methods to control the path-based

    editing algorithm in different ways. First, based on a study exploring how users can express

    motion using their hands, our finger walking technique allows control of motion editing by

    mimicking full-body motion on a touch-sensitive tabletop. A further study was conducted

    to test automatic identification of the motion type of the performance, and to evaluate user

    satisfaction with the generated motions. The second technique uses handheld manipulation of


  • a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, to mimic a motion through space. Using only

    the simple and standard motion sensors in these devices, we developed two gestural methods

    for editing motion, with both discrete, one-off gestures and continuous steering wheel style

    control of an ongoing motion.

    Overall, the techniques presented in this thesis demonstrate that fast and interactive editing

    of human locomotion is possible using meaningful high-level controls, without requiring large

    amounts of additional motion data or computation.


  • Acknowledgements

    I have had the great fortune over my graduate student career of working with and learning

    from many incredible professors. First and foremost, I am grateful for the support of my

    supervisor, Karan Singh. His encouragement, ideas, constructive criticism, and (most of all)

    patience have been essential to my success as an academic, a published researcher, and now

    a Ph.D. graduate. The other professors in the Dynamic Graphics Project lab, including the

    members of my advisory committee, Eugene Fiume and Ravin Balakrishnan, as well as Khai

    Truong, have also provided invaluable feedback and advice on a wide array of topics. I am also

    grateful to the other members of my Ph.D. examination committee, Daniel Wigdor and Michiel

    van de Panne, and its chair, Kaley Walker.

    The students in DGP have been tremendous sources of knowledge, and motivation. My

    closest comrades Patricio Simari and Patrick Coleman inspired me with their work ethic,

    analytical skills, and good natures. Many fellow students shaped my work by freely sharing some

    of their expertise: Alex Kolliopoulos and C], Martin de Lasas proofreading, Dustin Freeman

    and the Surface table, Ryan Schmidt and geometry, and Peter ODonovan and machine learning.

    So many have been sources of help along the way: Michael Neff, Jacobo Bibliowicz, Evangelos

    Kalogerakis, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, the late Joe Laszlo, David Dearman, Jonathan Deber,

    Rorik Henrikson, Matthew OToole, James McCrae, and many others.

    Many others from the University of Toronto have provided support. John Hancock,

    indefatigable systems administrator for DGP, who has always provided expert technical

    assistance. The staff of the graduate office, particular Vinita Krishnan and Sara Burns, who

    have helped me figure out the bureaucracy that I had to navigate from afar.

    My friends have been constant sources of encouragement, humour, and good times, all of

    which has invaluable during my graduate career. The Institute is always ready for a gathering

    filled with wacky antics, and now the second generation is joining in on the fun. And the

    Random Dinner Night crew is a never-ending source of new adventures, culinary and otherwise.

    My teaching experiences have been a truly enriching aspect of my time as a graduate student,

    and I am grateful for the opportunity to work as both a teaching assistant and course instructor

    while learning from so many great teachers. Diane Horton has been an inspiration and source

    of much great advice. Many thanks as well to Tom Fairgrieve, Paul Gries, Karen Reid, Michelle


  • Craig, Jennifer Campbell, Danny Heap, Daniel Zingaro, and Steve Engels.

    Beginning with internships and continuing to the past four and a half years (and counting)

    of full-time employment, my experiences at Industrial Light & Magic as well as LucasArts have

    propelled me upwards as a thinker, engineer, and communicator. The dream team of my first

    internship - Ari Shapiro, David Lenihan, Jeff Smith, Brett Allen, and David Galles - treated

    me as an equal from day one and expected nothing but my best, which was a foundational

    experience of my adult and professional life. My internship experiences were also enriched by

    working with talented senior engineers and managers, including David Bullock, Nick Porcino,

    Charlie Hite, Ben Cooley, and Lucas Kovar.

    As a Research and Development Engineer at ILM, I have continued to learn from incredible

    colleagues. I am grateful for the advice and encouragement about completing my Ph.D., from

    Steve Sullivan, Rony Goldenthal, Rachel Rose, Yuting Ye, and Kiran Bhat. I have worked with

    many talented and inspirational engineers, past and present: Mike Jutan, Matt Lausch, Kevin

    Wooley, Yoojin Jang, Sheila Santos, Mat Berglund, Eric Wimmer, Florian Kainz, Jeff Yost,

    and Philip Hubbard, and others. I am continually amazed by the talented artists I meet every

    day, and Im especially grateful for the lessons and generous natures John Doublestein, Abs

    Jahromi, and Glen McIntosh. And the stage folks have welcomed me as I learned the ins and

    outs of motion capture: Mat Brady, Brooke Chapman, Mike Sanders, Rod Fransham, Lindsay

    Oikawa, and Sean Idol.

    I am also grateful to many people who must, by necessity, remain anonymous. Many

    conference reviewers have provided constructive feedback on my research. And I have worked

    directly with thoughtful and generous folks who experienced my research hands-on and provided

    their thoughts, including my study participants and the expert animators.

    I wouldnt be where I am today without the love and support of my family. Aunts, uncles,

    cousins, and my wonderful and now-departed grandparents, all were and are always in my

    corner. I am very fortunate to have joined my wifes equally loving family, including my

    parents-in-law who are always encouraging and interested in my work. My amazing sister and

    her family are always ready to lend a hand, or a hug. And my parents have always been there

    for me with lessons, encouragement, and support, for which I am eternally grateful.


  • Finally, and most importantly, I am who am I today because of the love of my life, my wife

    Isabelle. You never let me quit, never stopped believing in me and supporting me, and continue

    to be the best partner I could ever imagine. And our beautiful, incredible daughter, Amelia:

    you have brought so much joy into our lives, and so much more lies ahead. I treasure every

    moment I spend with the two of you. Thank you. Im all yours.

    Noah Lockwood

    San Francisco, California, USA

    September 2016


  • Contents

    1 Introduction 1

    1.1 Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    1.2 Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    1.3 Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    1.4 Thesis Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    1.5 Contributions and Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    2 Related Work 9

    2.1 Animation Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

    2.1.1 Posing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .