VHD: A System for Directing Real-Time Virtual Actors

Sannier, G. and Balcisoy, S. and Magnenat-Thalmann, N. and Thalmann, D.

Abstract: In this paper, we present a new system dedicated to the real-time production of multimedia products and TV shows involving multiple virtual actors and presenters. This system, named VHD (Virtual Human Director), may be also used for character animation on high-level systems and interaction with Web based applications. The user can create virtual stories by directing all actions in real-time. It is similar to a movie producer directing actors during filming but with more control given to the director in the sense that everything is decided and controlled by the same person. To make this complicated task possible, in a useable way, we provide a high-level control of the virtual actors. Tools were developed to be able to predefine actions in advance so that during the real-time playing, the producer can concentrate on the main guidelines of the scenario. Only high-level actions can be used with the interface, this allows control of the speech, by typing/selecting simple text-based sentences. The facial animation is controlled by pre-recorded sentences. These facial animations can be mixed in real-time and also mixed with the speech. Control of the body is done through keyframing and motion motors for the walking.

  journal = {The Visual Computer},
  author = {Sannier, G. and Balcisoy, S. and Magnenat-Thalmann, N. and Thalmann, D.},
  title = {VHD: A System for Directing Real-Time Virtual Actors},
  publisher = {Springer},
  volume = {Vol. 15},
  number = {No. 7/8},
  pages = {320-329},
  year = {1999},
  topic = {Networked Collaborative Virtual Environments}