Scientists have developed new software that will ensures that a game character's clothes ripple and ruffle realistically as the action unfolds.
Carsten Stoll of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrucken, Germany, and his colleagues began by generating a 3D laser scan of an actor in costume, and manually added a simple virtual skeleton.
Next, the team recorded video footage of the actor moving, and uploaded it into a program that tracks the actor's silhouette through each frame.
By comparing the 3D scan with the sequence of silhouettes, the software identifies which parts of the actor's outline deform most freely, indicating that they are covered in loose cloth.
The software then calculates how the actor's virtual skeleton beneath the clothes moves through the sequence, and analyses how it collides with the clothing.
Lastly, it applies that information to a second skeleton, which has been designed to be easily controlled and animated.
When the animator manipulates the virtual double to act out new sequences not performed by the real actor, its costume moves and crumples realistically.
"If the double is wearing a chiffon skirt in the original sequence, it will swish realistically in all of the new sequences too," New Scientist quoted Stoll as saying.
The work will be unveiled in December at the computer graphics conference Siggraph Asia in Seoul, South Korea.