Thin Skin Elastodynamics

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2013)

  Duo Li   Shinjiro Sueda   Debanga R. Neog   Dinesh K. Pai

Sensorimotor Systems Laboratory, University of British Columbia

The skin of a character (a) can be significantly distorted using standard techniques (b), but moves realistically with our method (c). Flexing a hand (d) realistically moves the skin, along with skin properties like normal maps (e). Our method can also be applied to skin-tight clothes (f) and animal skin (g).

Abstract We present a novel approach to simulating thin hyperelastic skin. Real human skin is only a few millimeters thick. It can stretch and slide over underlying body structures such as muscles, bones, and tendons, revealing rich details of a moving character. Simulating such skin is challenging because it is in close contact with the body and shares its geometry. Despite major advances in simulating elastodynamics of cloth and soft bodies for computer graphics, such methods are difficult to use for simulating thin skin due to the need to deal with non-conforming meshes, collision detection, and contact response. We propose a novel Eulerian representation of skin that avoids all the difficulties of constraining the skin to lie on the body surface by working directly on the surface itself. Skin is modeled as a 2D hyperelastic membrane with arbitrary topology, which makes it easy to cover an entire character or object. Unlike most Eulerian simulations, we do not require a regular grid and can use triangular meshes to model body and skin geometry. The method is easy to implement, and can use low resolution meshes to animate high resolution details stored in texture-like maps. Skin movement is driven by the animation of body shape prescribed by an artist or by another simulation, and so it can be easily added as a post-processing stage to an existing animation pipeline. We provide several examples simulating human and animal skin, and skin-tight clothes.
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Bibtex @ARTICLE{Li:2013,
   author = {Li, Duo and Sueda, Shinjiro and Neog, Debanga R and Pai, Dinesh K},
   title = {Thin Skin Elastodynamics},
   journal = {ACM Trans. Graph. (Proc. SIGGRAPH)},
   year = {2013},
   month = {July},
   volume = {32},
   number = {4},
   pages = {49:1-49:9},
  • Canada Research Chairs Program
  • Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation