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I'm a programmer and I'm interested in programmatic character animation — walking or running, bipedal or many-legged: what is the state of the art today?

I heard about NaturalMotion's Euphoria system and Ubisoft's IK Rig, and they look amazing. Where can I find more info about similar algorithms?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I really don't think anyone does anything quite like NaturalMotion's physics-based animation system. You'll find that's the sort of thing that encapsulates years of rigourous work by a dedicated, specialised team. It is a highly specialised product. Best of breed, as they say. Hence the pricetag. \$\endgroup\$
    – Engineer
    Apr 29, 2016 at 13:09

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IK Rig looks very cool, and from what I can find, it's all in the name. It's about using Inverse Kinematics, prescribing the bare minimum number of elements for describing an animation -- feet, pelvis, wrists, shoulders, neck-base and head. Everything in between is constrained according to artistic factors and calculated in-engine, or baked to a new, more fully-defined animation.

Based on slides downloaded from the description of one of their videos (see description, but be warned: 1.2 GB and not much information):

IK Rig Definition

● Active bones – full body IK

● Twist bones, small bones, secondary bones, collider, pivot, prop nodes – added and constrained directly in engine

This is accompanied by a picture of their IK rig's active bones -- feet, pelvis, wrists, shoulders, neck-base and head.

Another of their videos contains a more informative set of slides in its description (0.8 GB). It describes 3 steps:

  1. Convert Source -- Mocap or other animation is converted into "IK chain proxy format".

  2. Adjust -- Behaviours are changed/constrained according to the desires of the artist applying these animations to the character.

  3. Apply to target -- These are then animated at runtime or saved as a more traditional animation.

With all this info, if I were you, I'd learn about Inverse Kinematics -- I've never done it before, but I'd probably Google "Inverse Kinematics" for more information on that specifically.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Last couple of days I'm researching IK Rig system. I looked the slides, watched GDC and nucl.ai talks and I have the similar understanding to yours. Thought without a code it's not absolutely clear. Specifically, how to convert. adjust and apply. \$\endgroup\$ May 4, 2016 at 8:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, code can really help. Sometimes you've just gotta try it and see, though :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jibb Smart
    May 4, 2016 at 9:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want code example they reference FINAL IK which is an asset from the asset store that almost do similar things, and teh code is viewable. \$\endgroup\$
    – user29244
    Dec 29, 2016 at 21:41

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