Monday, 10 December 2012

Unit 7: Narrative - Charles Facial Animation

Hello Everyone,

I had planned to post this yesterday but I was stuck waiting for the frames to render the occlusion pass (took much longer then predicted). I promised Anita some time back that I would do a facial animation post so here I am a man of my word... The facial animation for Charles was created using various blend shapes which I created in Zbrush just before porting them into Maya for the final controlled render. I decided to keep the movement basic as it is only about the face moving into other various forms to create different emotions.

The facial tweaks are quite handy to have as you can mix a number of them to get different shapes (shapes which you haven't built). I found it amusing the other day because Lydia managed to find a hysterical face for Charles purely by playing with the dials on the face control. The only face I feel we are missing which would have been handy is the O mouth shapes purely because we have a number of elements which would require Charles to pull the face... oh well...

The head army image (shown above) are the face shapes I created in ZBrush, I then tested them on a copy of Charles neutral head (which worked flawlessly). There was a few faults in getting them to work with Charles face in our rig however. Alan told me to input an expression which would cause the blend shaped face to gradually draw away from an offset copy of the standard head shape to create the new shape without issue... Apparently me and a few other people stumbled into some bug but I am not sure how you avoid it...

With the head setup I decided to revert back once again to concepts devised by Anita to create facial shapes for Charles. I was not sure if I could create all of them but mix and matching a few here and there managed to get me some decent opposites. I even reflected back to a lesson we had with Justin not too long ago where he mentioned a Characters persona (I.e. Pooh Bear angry doesn't work because it is not in his nature). The same I could argue for Charles which immediately made the angry face not work for me but I rendered it anyway...

As you can see from the renders above I managed to create quite a few heads from the basic shapes I had above. What helped was the movement of the eyes (something missing in Anita's concepts) which helped convey the required emotion to a greater degree. The intrigue head was key to the high eyebrow and the eyes being situated downwards created the depressive Charles. As I mentioned above though the head that did not work was the angry... Charles is meant to be empathetic an angry head cannot work for his personality and thus does not feel right on him at all... I cant explain it really you just know it when you see it.

Last but not least I did a render of the animated head going through the blend shapes, I did this purely for my own curiosity just so I could see how the geometry moved and altered based entirely on the vertice coordinate. It was also nice to see the render passes come together (much like how they will when our short is done rendering). This helped me come to grips partially with the process which Anita and Lydia appear to know so well. There is just something so awesome about seeing Charles move through his blend shapes showing aspects of his character that will and will never exist (i.e. the angry face).
Can't wait for tomorrow when we sit down to hash out the final details of our Render I have been keeping out of it since my part so I'm sure there will be a few surprises from my fellow animators. I think Charles has more personality from pose to expression which will be something I will be comparing in our Art of document to be released on the day of the crit...
Hope everyone is having fun out there.
See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. good stuff, Stitch - yes, looking forward to seeing all of this come together :)