DiffMimic: Efficient Motion Mimicking with Differentiable PhysicsDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 01 Oct 2023ICLR 2023 posterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Physics-based Animation
TL;DR: Mimic agile skills for physics-based character with differentiable physics simulators.
Abstract: Motion mimicking is a foundational task in physics-based character animation. However, most existing motion mimicking methods are built upon reinforcement learning (RL) and suffer from heavy reward engineering, high variance, and slow convergence with hard explorations. Specifically, they usually take tens of hours or even days of training to mimic a simple motion sequence, resulting in poor scalability. In this work, we leverage differentiable physics simulators (DPS) and propose an efficient motion mimicking method dubbed $\textbf{DiffMimic}$. Our key insight is that DPS casts a complex policy learning task to a much simpler state matching problem. In particular, DPS learns a stable policy by analytical gradients with ground-truth physical priors hence leading to significantly faster and stabler convergence than RL-based methods. Moreover, to escape from local optima, we utilize an \textit{Demonstration Replay} mechanism to enable stable gradient backpropagation in a long horizon. Extensive experiments on standard benchmarks show that DiffMimic has a better sample efficiency and time efficiency than existing methods (e.g., DeepMimic). Notably, DiffMimic allows a physically simulated character to learn back-flip after 10 minutes of training and be able to cycle it after 3 hours of training, while DeepMimic requires about a day of training to cycle back-flip. More importantly, we hope DiffMimic can benefit more differentiable animation systems with techniques like differentiable clothes simulation in future research. Our code is available at https://github.com/diffmimic/diffmimic. Qualitative results can be viewed at https://diffmimic-demo-main-g7h0i8.streamlitapp.com.
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