Sketching-out virtual humans: from 2D storyboarding to immediate 3D character animation.
Virtual beings are playing a remarkable role in today's public entertainment, while ordinary users are still treated as audiences due to the lack of appropriate expertise, equipment, and computer skills. In this paper, we present a fast and intuitive storyboarding interface, which enables users to sketch-out 3D virtual humans, 2D/3D animations, and character intercommunication. We devised an intuitive "stick figure→fleshing-out→skin mapping" graphical animation pipeline, which realises the whole process of key framing, 3D pose reconstruction, virtual human modelling, motion path/timing control, and the final animation synthesis by almost pure 2D sketching. A "creative model-based method" is developed, which emulates a human perception process, to generate the 3D human bodies of variational sizes, shapes, and fat distributions. Meanwhile, our current system also supports the sketch-based crowd animation and the storyboarding of the 3D multiple character intercommunication. This system has been formally tested by various users on Tablet PC. After minimal training, even a beginner can create vivid virtual humans and animate them within minutes.