Facial animation!!

Facial animation is actually quite easy if you break it down. I follow a similar approach to Jason Osipa (get his book “Stop Staring”), I first block out the open/closed positions. I do this by resting my chin on a desk and saying the dialogue at full speed, feeling exactly when my mouth opens and closes.

Once I’ve got the open/closed done, I then focus on the wide-narrow keys. I look into a mirror or just put my hands on my lips and say the dialogue at full speed.

Note: It is important to say the dialogue at full speed when you are getting the timing down. Saying it slow may allow you to enunciate and make more mouth shapes that you would have time for at full speed. When dealing with the timing of the mouth poses, always say the dialogue at full speed with your audio clip playing in your headphones. Later, when you are getting good mouth shapes, you can slow down and really look at the shapes your mouth makes.

Once you have the open/closed and wide/narrow done, your dialogue should look pretty darn good! Now its time to add some personality!

Next I like to focus on the eyes for a little bit. I’ll add in some basic emotion in the eyebrows and with squinting and blinking. I’ll try and get my eye direction and gaze to have some life in it too. Nothing detailed just yet, mainly broad strokes.

Next I’ll look at the entire face again and start to really push the expressions here. I’ll add in the smiles and the frowns, the winks and the squints. What is it that makes this character who he is? Add it in now. What mood are they feeling? You should have already expressed this clearly through the body, but now it the time to accentuate it with the face.

Now the animation is really nice! It’s time to polish it.

Start adding keyframes and breakdowns to cushion or add weight to various bits of the face. Maybe you want the mouth to open in an arc, or a smile to be crooked. This is the time to really push it into realism and uber-expression! Maybe you think it would be nice for the eyebrows and lids to cushion a head accent, do it!

It’s usually at this stage that I realize I need to add some more head movements in. Follow this instinct! This is where real character starts to develop. Emphasizing a facial expression with a head gesture is something that can only really be done at this stage, unless you’re a thumbnail ninja!

Well, I hope that helps!
If there’s anything I didn’t cover or you need more tips on another aspect of facial animation, please let me know!

-DJ

 

~ by animationslider on March 16, 2017.

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