AniMesh and RigMesh

[PDF] Ming Jin, Dan Gopstein, Yotam Gingold, and Andy Nealen. “AniMesh: Interleaved Animation, Modeling, and Editing“. ACM Trans. Graph.

AniMesh Overview

The animation pipeline typically used in video games and feature films requires creation of detailed 3D characters. Each character must be built from hand-designed skeletons and meticulously tailored skin and fabrics, all of which then gets animated frame by frame. Each stage in this sequence is time-consuming and requires expertise in complicated animation tools, making the process inaccessible to novices. Furthermore, this sequence is linear. A model cannot be edited once it’s been rigged and animated, impeding iterative design. Motivated by this observation, we created AniMesh, a system that unifies modeling and animation.

Using AniMesh, anyone, experts and novices alike, can build 3D characters in minutes (not hours), by simply drawing sketches. Then, the user can bring her creation to life by demonstrating motions using her body in front of a commodity motion tracking camera. Unlike current industry standard tools, however, should the user decide to change the shape, structure or position of her character, AniMesh will automatically adjust the animation to the new shape of the character.

Our design goal, unlike most existing animation suites, is to support tasks traditionally poorly served by modern tools, like rapid prototyping, being accessible to non-expert users, facilitating exploration. In these scenarios a non-linear and non-destructive workflow can offer advantages over more traditional techniques. With this in mind, every component and algorithm in AniMesh was designed to allow a single user to interleave these tasks and significantly decrease their iteration time, and, ideally, increase their prototyping ability.

Making and animating the mantis

Supplementary video


RigMesh: Automatic Rigging for Part-Based Shape Modeling and Deformation

Peter Borosan, Ming Jin, Doug DeCarlo, Yotam Gingold, Andrew Nealen

ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG) 31(6):198:1–198:9. Also in Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2012.

Paper: PDF (21 MB) | PDF (4 MB)

Presentation (SIGGRAPH Asia 2012): PDF (10 MB) | PDF with notes (10 MB) | Keynote ’09 (18 MB) | PowerPoint with demo (97 MB)


The creation of a 3D model is only the first stage of the 3D character animation pipeline. Once a model has been created, and before it can be animated, it must be rigged. Manual rigging is laborious, and automatic rigging approaches are far from real-time and do not allow for incremental updates. This is a hindrance in the real world, where the shape of a model is often revised after rigging has been performed. In this paper, we introduce algorithms and a user-interface for sketch-based 3D modeling that unify the modeling and rigging stages of the 3D character animation pipeline. Our algorithms create a rig for each sketched part in real-time, and update the rig as parts are merged or cut. As a result, users can freely pose and animate their shapes and characters while rapidly iterating on the base shape. The rigs are compatible with the state-of-the-art character animation pipeline; they consist of a low-dimensional skeleton along with skin weights identifying the surface with bones of the skeleton.

Video (MP4, 18 MB):






Modeling the camel (MP4, 6 MB):







BibTeX (or see the ACM Digital Library entry):

 author    = {Peter Borosan and Ming Jin and Doug DeCarlo and Yotam Gingold and Andrew Nealen},
 title     = {Rig{M}esh: Automatic Rigging for Part-Based Shape Modeling and Deformation},
 journal   = {ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG)},
 volume    = {31},
 number    = {6},
 pages     = {198:1--198:9},
 articleno = {198},
 numpages  = {9},
 url       = {},
 doi       = {10.1145/2366145.2366217},
 year      = {2012},
 month     = nov,
 publisher = {ACM Press},
 address   = {New York, NY, USA}