Video puppetry: A performative interface for cutout animation

Connelly Barnes

Princeton University

David Jacobs

University of California at Berkeley

Jason Sanders

University of California at Berkeley

Dan Goldman

Adobe Research

Szymon Rusinkiewicz

Princeton University

Adam Finkelstein

Princeton University

Maneesh Agrawala

University of California at Berkeley

teaser-videopuppetry

We have developed a video-based interface that allows users of all skill levels to quickly create cutout-style animations by performing the character motions. The puppeteer first creates a cast of physical puppets using paper, markers and scissors. He then physically moves these puppets to tell a story. Using an inexpensive overhead camera our system tracks the motions of the puppets and renders them on a new background while removing the puppeteer’s hands. Our system runs in real-time (at 30 fps) so that the puppeteer and the audience can immediately see the animation that is created. Our system also supports a variety of constraints and effects including articulated characters, multi-track animation, scene changes, camera controls, 2.5-D environments, shadows, and animation cycles. Users have evaluated our system both quantitatively and qualitatively: In tests of low-level dexterity, our system has similar accuracy to a mouse interface. For simple story telling, users prefer our system over either a mouse interface or traditional puppetry. We have demonstrated that even first-time users, including an eleven-year-old, can use our system to quickly turn an original story idea into an animation.

References

Project Publications

Video puppetry: A performative interface for cutout animation

Barnes, C., Jacobs, D., Sanders, J., Goldman, D., Rusinkiewicz, S., Finkelstein, A., Agarwala, M. (Dec. 2, 2008)
ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH Asia) , 27(5), 2008.