An essential form of communication between the director and the animators early in the animation pipeline is rough cut at the motion (a blocked-in animation). This version of the character’s performance allows the director and animators to discuss how the character will play his/her role in each scene. However, blocked-in animation is also quite time-consuming to construct, with short scenes requiring many hours of preparation between presentations. In this paper, we present a puppeteering interface for creating blocked-in motion for characters and various simulation effects more quickly than is possible in a keyframing interface. The animator manipulates one of a set of tracked objects in a motion capture system to control a few degrees of freedom of the character on each take. We explore the design space for the 3D puppeteering interface with a set of seven professional animators using a “think-aloud” protocol. We present a number of animations that they created and compare the time required to create similar animations in our 3D user interface and a commercial keyframing interface.
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