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An Introduction to Blend Tree Implementation and Animation Parallelization

Alex J. Champandard on June 30, 2011

Over the past decade, blend trees have incrementally established themselves as the de-facto technique for implementing character animation. Since these blend trees are becoming more complex, implementing them efficiently is becoming a priority, allowing games to offload the bulk of the computation to separate dedicated processors like the SPU.

In this tutorial, you'll first learn the basics of blend trees and how they can be broken down into individual nodes and leaves. You'll also discover the different types of blending used for character animation generally, and why it's important to understand those. Finally, you'll find out ways of this in practice by splitting up the computation process into easily manageable operations that can be offloaded to different threads.