UCT CS Research Document Archive

A Comparison of Linear Skinning Techniques for Character Animation

Jacka, David, Ashley Reid, Bruce Merry and James Gain (2007) A Comparison of Linear Skinning Techniques for Character Animation. Technical Report CS07-03-00, Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

Full text available as:
PDF - Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader or other PDF viewer.


Character animation is the task of moving a complex, artificial character in a life-like manner. A widely used method for character animation involves embedding a simple skeleton within a character model and then animating the character by moving the underlying skeleton. The character's skin is required to move and deform along with the skeleton. Research into this problem has resulted in a number of skinning frameworks. There has, however, been no objective attempt to compare these methods.

We compare three linear skinning frameworks that are computationally efficient enough to be used for real-time animation: Skeletal Subspace Deformation, Animation Space and Multi-Weight Enveloping. These create a correspondence between the points on a character's skin and the underlying skeleton by means of a number of weights, with more weights providing greater flexibility.

The quality of each of the three frameworks is tested by generating the skins for a number of poses for which the ideal skin is known. These generated skin meshes are then compared to the ideal skins using various mesh comparison techniques and human studies are used to determine the effect of any temporal artefacts introduced. We found that SSD lacks flexibility while Multi-Weight Enveloping is prone to overfitting. Animation Space consistently outperforms the other two frameworks.

EPrint Type:Departmental Technical Report
Keywords:Character Animation, Skinning, Comparison, Real-time
Subjects:I Computing Methodologies: I.3 COMPUTER GRAPHICS
ID Code:403
Deposited By:Jacka, David
Deposited On:25 July 2007