For this assignment, we were instructed to create a keyframe transfer script in Python in which the two different joint hierarchies had different orientations. While gathering the keys for the two skeletons, there is a bit of challenging math behind the transition of rotation values as we step out of the SOURCE joint’s coordinate system into the world in order to be able to step into the TARGET joint’s coordinate system. To make the transfer a bit easier and more manageable, a user interface with two lists to manage each hierarchy was created in PySide. The user can reorganize the joints by moving them up or down in the list, delete them or reset the TARGET skeleton back to its original pose.


It is important to note that all of the components do not always share the same space, which would result in wrong calculations. In hierarchical character animations, it’s common to use a “parent-child” relationship to replicate the behavior of a moving body in the real world. On top of the “parent-child” relationship, each joint has its own local transform that is relative to its parent.

“A” represents a “to-parent” matrix. To take the last joint in the hierarchy into the world space coordinate system for example, the global transform matrix must be created by multiplying  together A0 * A1 * A2 *A3 from the right.

It’s therefore required to go between the different coordinate systems to make all transformations in the skeleton relative to the world. A joint can be transferred to its parent’s coordinate system by using a “to-parent” matrix and further on into the world. In order to accomplish this transfer between the different coordinate system, a recursive function was written to gather all the transformations from the current node all the way up to its parents and ultimately reach the root node. From here on, the global transformation can be calculated.

To isolate the keyframe rotation, we also apply the inverse bind pose which in this case represents the values of rotation at the very first frame of the SOURCE joint’s animation (resembles a T-Pose). A change of basis takes place and when this process is over, we can extract the euler rotations from a final translation matrix and set it to the current time where there was a keyframe on the SOURCE joint and set it to the corresponding TARGET joint.

I’m glad that I had already implemented Skeletal Animation for DirectX as preparation for this assignment, since it enabled me to further practice on my understanding of the relationship between different coordinate systems. Though, I still think of animation as one of the more challenging tasks in creative mediums both technically and aesthetically. I’m not a math genius, but I’m not completely incapable of taking on bigger tasks as I continue to grow. I’ve gained so much valuable knowledge over the last few weeks, so there is no stopping now. I’m just going to keep moving forward, despite my mistakes that I perform on a daily basis. Until next time, have a good one 🙂