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Assessing the impact of hand motion on virtual character personality

  • Author(s): Wang, Y
  • Tree, JEF
  • Walker, M
  • Neff, M
  • et al.

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Designing virtual characters that are capable of conveying a sense of personality is important for generating realistic experiences, and thus a key goal in computer animation research. Though the influence of gesture and body motion on personality perception has been studied, little is known about which attributes of hand pose and motion convey particular personality traits. Using the "Big Five" model as a framework for evaluating personality traits, this work examines how variations in hand pose and motion impact the perception of a character's personality. As has been done with facial motion, we first study hand motion in isolation as a requirement for running controlled experiments that avoid the combinatorial explosion of multimodal communication (all combinations of facial expressions, arm movements, body movements, and hands) and allow us to understand the communicative content of hands. We determined a set of features likely to reflect personality, based on research in psychology and previous human motion perception work: shape, direction, amplitude, speed, and manipulation. Then we captured realistic hand motion varying these attributes and conducted three perceptual experiments to determine the contribution of these attributes to the character's personalities. Both hand poses and the amplitude of hand motion affected the perception of all five personality traits. Speed impacted all traits except openness. Direction impacted extraversion and openness. Manipulation was perceived as an indicator of introversion, disagreeableness, neuroticism, and less openness to experience. From these results, we generalize guidelines for designing detailed hand motion that can add to the expressiveness and personality of characters. We performed an evaluation study that combined hand motion with gesture and body motion. Even in the presence of body motion, hand motion still significantly impacted the perception of a character's personality and could even be the dominant factor in certain situations.

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