Center for Human Modeling and Simulation

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

June 2000


Copyright 2000 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of Computer Graphics International (CGI) 2000, June 2000, pages 3-9.

This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.


Computer synthesized characters are expected to make appropriate face, limb, and body gestures during communicative acts. We focus on non-facial movements and try to elucidate what is intended with the notions of "gesture" and "naturalness". We argue that looking only at the psychological notion of gesture and gesture type is insufficient to capture movement qualities needed by an animated character. Movement observation science, specifically Laban Movement Analysis and its Effort and Shape components with motion phrasing provide essential gesture components. We assert that the expression of movement qualities from the Effort dimensions are needed to make a gesture naturally crystallize out of abstract movements. Finally, we point out that non-facial gestures must involve the rest of the body to appear natural and convincing. A system called EMOTE has been implemented which applies parameterized Effort and Shape qualities to movements and thereby forms improved synthetic gestures.



Date Posted: 09 July 2007