Perceptual Effect of Shoulder Motions on Crowd Animations
A typical crowd engine pipeline animates numerous moving characters according to a 2-step process: global trajectories are generated by a crowd simulator, whereas full body motions are generated by animation engines. Because interactions are only considered at the first stage, animations sometimes lead to residual collisions and/or characters walking as if they were alone, showing no sign of the influence of others. In this paper, we investigate the value of adding shoulder motions to characters passing at close distances on the perceived visual quality of crowd animations (i.e., perceived residual collisions and animation naturalness). We present two successive perceptual experiments exploring this question where we investigate first, local interactions between two isolated characters, and second, crowd scenarios. The first experiment shows that shoulder motions have a strong positive effect on both perceived residual collisions and animation naturalness. The second experiment demonstrates that the effect on animation naturalness is preserved in the context of crowd scenarios, where adding shoulder motions creates subtle animation differences spread on many characters. Our general conclusion is that adding secondary motions in character interactions has a significant impact on the visual quality of crowd animations, with a very light impact on the computational cost of the whole animation pipeline. Our results open perspectives to advance crowd animation techniques by enhancing the simulation of complex interactions between crowd characters with simple secondary motion triggering techniques.