Skinning with Dual Quaternions

Ladislav Kavan
Trinity College Dublin
Czech Technical University, Prague
Steven Collins
Trinity College Dublin
Jiří Žára
Czech Technical University, Prague
Carol O'Sullivan
Trinity College Dublin

A comparison of dual quaternion skinning with previous methods: log-matrix blending [Cordier andMagnenat-Thalmann 2005] and spherical blend skinning [Kavan and Žára 2005]. The proposed approach not only eliminates artifacts, but is also much easier to implement and more than twice as fast.


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 GPU-friendly skinning algorithm based on dual quaternions. We show that this approach solves the artifacts of linear blend skinning at minimal additional cost. Upgrading an existing animation system (e.g., in a videogame) from linear to dual quaternion skinning is very easy and has negligible impact on run-time performance.

accompanying video


Ladislav Kavan, Steven Collins, Jiří Žára, Carol O'Sullivan. Skinning with Dual Quaternions. Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games, 2007.  

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We wish to thank Carlo H. Séquin for early illuminating discussion on the topic and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. We acknowledge the support of the Higher Education Authority of 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.