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There are many traditional animation techniques - such as blurring of motion, motion along an elliptical curve rather than a straight line, counter-motion before beginning of movement - which help with creating the appearance of a realistic 3D animated character.

I'm looking to incorporate tools and short cuts for some of these into my graphics engine, to make it easier for my end users to use these techniques in their animations. Is there a good resource listing the techniques and the principles behind them, especially how they might apply to a graphics engine or 3D animation?

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Other than motion blur, all of those seem like an "art problem" (i.e. just things people should be doing as part of their animations they make in max/maya/whatever) instead of some kind of graphics engine tech. – Tetrad Jan 29 '11 at 3:11
I'm surprised to hear that - the items I've listed can easily be automated. Maybe they're better automated as part of the animation editor instead of the graphics engine? That would be useful to know, since I plan to couple my graphics engine with a simple editor. – blueberryfields Jan 31 '11 at 2:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can simulate a lot of different movement types using easing-equations. Your engine would definitely benefit from having them built in.

See this question and it's answers for more resources: Easing Functions

The "Interpolation Tricks Tutorial" by Jari Komppa is a good starting point IMHO

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This classic Siggraph paper by John Lasseter is required reading for any programmer working with animation:

It's pretty high-level, but it introduces you to the language that animators use to describe their craft.

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