Limit Cycle Control and its Application to the Animation of Balancing and Walking

Joseph F. Laszlo
Michiel van de Panne
Eugene Fiume
University of Toronto

Seemingly simple behaviours such as human walking are difficult to model because of their inherent instability. Kinematic animation techniques can freely ignore such intrinsically dynamic problems, but they therefore also miss modeling important motion characteristics. On the other hand, the effect balancing can emerge in a physically-based animation, but it requires computing delicate control strategies. We propose an alternative method that adds close-loop feedback to open-loop periodic motions. We then apply our technique to create robust walking gaits for a fully-dynamic 19 degree-of-freedom human model. Important global characteristics such as direction, speed and stride rate can be controlled by changing the open-loop behaviour alone or through simple control parameters, while continuing to employ the same local stabilization technique. Among other features, our dynamic "human" walking character is thus able to follow desired paths specified by the animator.

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