Avatar Research Platform
Vincent Jennings, School of Computing Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, U.K.
The ARP is a flexible toolkit for avatar system creation. Its purpose is to support our research into avatar technology and its applications.
It achieves this by generalising and extending the facilities provided through standard avatar creation tools.
Current work focuses particularly on improving the realism of facial animation through the use of dynamic texturing and through
improvements to morph target technology. We are also working on enhancement to real-time performance and realism through improved
mesh-processing algorithms and the exploitation of recent developments in graphics card technology.
Avatar creation pipeline
Avatar Technology and the ARP Avatar Toolkit
An avatar is implemented by first defining a deformable mesh, consisting of a large set of connected triangles, which represents the
avatar's body surface, or “skin”. Within this skin a connected set of bones is defined, to represent the avatar's virtual skeleton. Then a
binding between the skin and the virtual skeleton is established, so that animation software can ensure that each change of skeleton
configuration will cause an appropriate change in the appearance of the surface mesh.
Given this apparatus, the avatar can be animated on-screen simply by defining a suitable sequence of virtual skeleton configurations,
which causes the matching surface mesh motions to be displayed. This avatar creation process is supported by a variety of 2-D and 3-D
modelling tools. The ARP Avatar Toolkit provides a set of software tools which augment and refine these off-the-shelf facilities.
2D to 3D mapping
Feature point discovery
To meet eSign synthetic
animation requirements, nearly
400 positions on the avatar’s
skin need to be mapped. This
process is automated using ray
tracing techniques from the
For dynamic textures, control points
from a 2D shape model are mapped