Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


Zoë Wood


Fish such as the Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata) can be tagged on their fin, released back into the wild, and their location tracked though technologies such as autonomous robots. Timestamped location data about their target is stored. We present a way to procedurally generate an animated simulation of T. semifasciata using only these timestamped location points.

This simulation utilizes several components. Input timestamps dictate a monotonic time-space curve mapping the simulation clock to the space curve. The space curve connects all the location points as a spline without any sharp folds that are too implausible for shark traversal. We create a model leopard shark that has convincing kinematics that respond to the space curve. This is achieved through acquiring a skinned model and applying T. semifasciata motion kinematics that respond to velocity and turn commands. These kinematics affect the spine and all fins that control locomotion and direction. Kinematic- based procedural keyframes added onto a queue interpolate while the shark model traverses the path.

This simulation tool generates animation sequences that can be viewed in real-time. A user study of 27 individuals was deployed to measure the perceived realism of the sequences as judged by the user by contrasting 5 different film sequences. Results of the study show that on average, viewers perceive our simulation as more realistic than not.

Shark_swimming_survey.mp4 (2338 kB)
Shark Swimming Result Survey