Neural Puppet: Generative Layered Cartoon Characters


We propose a learning based method for generating new animations of a cartoon character given a few example images. We express pose changes as a deformation of a layered 2.5D template mesh, and devise a novel architecture that learns to predict mesh deformations matching the template to a target image. In addition to coarse poses, character appearance also varies due to shading, out-of-plane motions, and artistic effects. We capture these subtle changes by applying an image translation network to refine the mesh rendering. Our generative model can be used to synthesize in-between frames and to create data-driven deformation. Our template fitting procedure outperforms state-of-the-art generic techniques for detecting image correspondences.