Character animation is a vital component of contemporary computer games, animated feature films and virtual reality applications. The problem of creating appealing character animation can best be described by the title of the animation bible: The Illusion of Life. The focus is not on completing a given motion task, but more importantly on how this motion task is performed by the character. This does not necessarily require realistic behavior, but behavior that is believable. This of course includes the skin deformations when the character is moving. In this paper, we focus on the existing research in the area of skin deformation, ranging from skeleton-based deformation and volume preserving techniques to physically based skinning methods. We also summarize the recent contributions in deformable and soft body simulations for articulated characters, and discuss various geometric and example-based approaches.