Character Essences, Research & Coding

Expressing Emotions Through Procedural Animation

We know from Paul Ekman that there is a baseline for human emotions. We all express the 6 basic emotions (joy, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, contempt) in more or less the same way. This personal inquiry looked at how we can abstract emotions to a language of trigonometric functions. Is there a link between the energic, soaring joy emotion and the upwards movement of a sine wave? For this initial stage of the project, I used simple primitive geometry.



The complexity of emotion and thought an individual can contrieve is far from being clearly defined. As the philosopher Winwood Reade suggests however, “while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty”.  This statement reflects the idea of general available guidelines, common to all individuals, through which they connect and understand one another. These rules are also found in the area of expressing emotions. We can simply describe  basic patterns for anger, contempt, disgust, fear, joy and sadness, thus we can make an attempt in defining these templates in a mathematical form. The current study focuses on finding the appropriate elementary functions that contribute to creating, so called, target factors, which convey characteristics of the six aforementioned emotions.  

Project Links

This project was done during by MSc in Computer Animation and Visual Effects at Bournemouth University, under the supervision of Stephen Bell.  You can read our presentation here.


One thought on “Expressing Emotions Through Procedural Animation

  1. Pingback: Character Essences Begins | Dr Anamaria Ciucanu

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