The Line of Action: an Intuitive Interface for Expressive Character Posing

Martin Guay, Marie-Paule Cani, Rémi Ronfard.

ACM Transactions on Graphics, 32 (6), Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia 2013.

Expressive character poses created in a few seconds each, by sketching intuitive lines of action.


The line of action is a conceptual tool often used by cartoonists and illustrators to help make their figures more consistent and more dramatic. We often see the expression of characters–may it be the dynamism of a super hero, or the elegance of a fashion model–well captured and amplified by a single aesthetic line. Usually this line is laid down in early stages of the drawing and used to describe the body’s principal shape. By focusing on this simple abstraction, the person drawing can quickly adjust and refine the overall pose of his or her character from a given viewpoint. In this paper, we propose a mathematical definition of the line of action (LOA), which allows us to automatically align a 3D virtual character to a user specified LOA by solving an optimization problem. We generalize this framework to other types of lines found in the drawing literature, such as secondary lines used to place arms. Finally, we show a wide range of poses and animations that were rapidly created using our system.