A4T3 Linear Blend Skinning

Now that we have a skeleton set up, we need to link the skeleton to the mesh in order to get the mesh to follow the movements of the skeleton. We will implement linear blend skinning using Skeleton::skin, which uses weights stored on a mesh by Skeleton::assign_bone_weights, which in turn uses the helper Skeleton::closest_point_on_line_segment.

Linear blend skinning means that each vertex will be transformed to a weighted sum of its positions under various bone transformations (transformations from bind space to posed space): v_i' = \sum_j w_{ij} P_j B_j^{-1} v_i

Where P_j is the bone-to-pose transformation for bone j, B_j is the bone-to-bind transformation for bone j, and w_{ij} is the weight given to bone j for vertex i. Note that if \sum_j w_{ij} \ne 1, the vertex will be scaled toward/away from the origin, so you should be cognizant of this when computing weights.

Bone Weights


To run the equation above you need bone weights. These are stored in the Halfedge_Mesh::Vertex::bone_weights vector by the Skeleton::assign_bone_weights function when you press "calculate bone weights" in the UI.

There are many ways of computing bone weights. Your implementation should use the following method, which uses the Bone::radius parameter of bones to control their relative weights.

Let d_{ij} be the distance from vertex i to the closest point on bone j (i.e. the segment from 0 to e_j in bone j's local space).

Let \hat{w}\_{ij} be 1 when the point is on the bone and decrease to 0 at the bone's radius, r: \hat{w}\_{ij} \equiv \frac{\mathrm{max}(0, r-d_{ij})}{r}

Normalize such that the sum of the weights for any given vertex is one: w_{ij} \equiv \frac{\hat{w}\_{ij}}{\sum_j \hat{w}\_{ij}}

(In case all weights are zero, do not store any weights for the vertex, and just transform it by the identity in skin.)

For efficiency, you should only store nonzero bone weights in Vertex::bone_weights.



Compute the resulting position of every vertex by doing a weighted average of the bind-to-posed transforms from each bone and applying it to the vertex. Compute the normals of the adjacent corners by applying the inverse transpose of the transformation applied to the vertex.

Notice that Skeleton::skin outputs an indexed mesh. This is because the result of skinning is passed to drawing / rendering code that expects Indexed_Mesh structures, so there's no reason to stuff the results back into a Halfedge_Mesh. You may wish to read the SplitEdges case of Indexed_Mesh::from_halfedge_mesh for inspiration on how to structure this part of your skin function.

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