No time for video? Free Animatable 3D figures

3D to animate animals in the film today is the domain of experts, working for days with special computer programs, until the animal template if available. Researchers from Saarbrücken, procedure app that dramatically simplifies all animation steps. A couple of strokes that mark the animal skeleton meet them and ready Cheetah run through the Savannah.

When animals in films such as the classic “Planet of the apes” in front of the camera acting, so that can be neatly in the money. So, alone one million dollars for makeup, masks and costumes of the apes were reserved by the budget of 5.8 million US dollars for the archaic science fiction film. It took every time good three hours, until the unfortunate actor by the costume and mask were to the lifelike looking monkey.

A short film of real animal as a template

Since the triumphant advance of digital technology, nobody more operates a such an effort, to play animals in front of the camera in Hollywood. Still, it takes even today often several days, until animation experts three-dimensional and lifelike animated animals with special computer programs.

Photo: Max Planck Institute for computer science

Far too long, my Bernhard Reinert and Professor Hans-Peter Seidel of the Max Planck Institute for computer science in Saarbrücken (MPI), which now have developed software together with Tobias Ritschel of the University College in London, which conjures a three-dimensional animation model of the animal from a short real movie template in a few minutes.

Reduction to the essential steps

“All existing products to automate detection of limb have failed here. That’s why we have developed a new method of calculation, based on special random processes, known as Markov chains “, explains Reinhard. The trick is the reduction to the essentials: on a single image of the real film the layman Director draws a simplified skeleton of limbs, so banal as a stick figure.

A few colored strokes

In the video explaining the simplicity amazes: regardless of whether a Cheetah by a grass savanna sprints, running a giraffe over the steppe or a herd of elephants crossing the road, always meet a few colored strokes to create the basic skeleton of support.

Scientists have developed a user interface that works like a simple paint program. Is repainted the amateur animator with a few clicks of the mouse to the tail of the Cheetah with a thick orange line and tagged backbone, head, front and hind legs by more colored lines.

Photo: Max Planck Institute for computer science

Magic at your fingertips

The software behind the paint program then transmits these markings on all frames of the short sequence of the real film. As a result, the markings even on movements of the animal lays repeatedly on the limbs. The user must then control five of these individual images on the correctness of markings and change if necessary by hand.

Then the three-dimensional digital grid model of the animal created to push of the magic button and the software will automatically start. To do this, she isolated the two-dimensional image of the beast of foreground and background and replaced the grain-line limbs as long as through height and diameter variable cylinder, fit in to this for every single image.

Fur texture

“The approach is similar to an animal for the enterprise from an elongated balloon shape, is much more accurate, what’s between the individual segments”, Reinert makes very clear. Finally the software copied the fur of the animal from the real image and puts this copy as a texture over the 3D model. Whoever wants to can send the generated three-dimensional animals to the 3D printer and print a sculpture. Or clone to make to Cheetah, Giraffe and elephant in the Pack through a virtual landscape.