Skinning of skeletally deformable models is extensively used for real-time animation of characters, creatures and similar objects. The standard solution, linear blend skinning, has some serious drawbacks that require artist intervention. Therefore, a number of alternatives have been proposed in recent years. All of them successfully combat some of the artifacts, but none challenge the simplicity and efficiency of linear blend skinning. As a result, linear blend skinning is still the number one choice for the majority of developers. In this paper, we present a novel skinning algorithm based on linear combination of dual quaternions. Even though our proposed method is approximate, it does not exhibit any of the artifacts inherent in previous methods and still permits an efficient GPU implementation. Upgrading an existing animation system from linear to dual quaternion skinning is very easy and has a relatively minor impact on run-time performance.
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We wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments, Bruce Merry for discussion on Animation Space and Carlo H. Séquin for early insights into the topic. We acknowledge the support of the Higher Education Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. This work has been partly supported by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic under the research programs LC-06008 (Center for Computer Graphics) and MSM 6840770014.