A quick post before the final hand in. As I wasn’t satisfied with my final animation, and my character in general, over the last few weeks I was working on improving it. One of the changes that I did is slightly remodelled character’s head and his face. I’ve also gave him different eyes. As we can see his faces isn’t as “boxy” as it was before. His face looks smoother, at least to me. Removing few edges from his face and keeping it quiet low when it comes to edge count also helped when it came to creating blendshapes, something that I’ve struggled with with the previous model. The eyes bring completely new appeal to the character, actually having an iris makes him look more alive and in my opinion is just more aesthetically pleasing to everyone. Their shape changed as well, as you can see below. They’re much more spherical than before.
Recently I’ve rigged my character using The Set Up Machine. As you can see below I had to tweak few things, such us influences on the skin, so the jacket would act naturally and wouldn’t dissolve in the character’s body. What’s ahead of me is the final animation. I’ve decided to slightly change my story. Now I want to do it in one camera angle and completely focus on characters faces. He’ll be sat by thinking about his past. I want the expressions to be clear to the audience and want the audience to empathise with the character.
Recently I was working on blendshapes for my character. As I’ve previously mentioned, most of the expressions that I wanted to portray were suppose to be illustrate sad and rather negative emotions. I was trying to make some expressions asymmetrical, as in my research I found out that asymmetry brings interest to the character and gives the pose energy. It seems that the expressions are symmetrical mainly when character is either bored, or in a position of authority, or has no emotions.
Norm, Tuesday Tips – Asymmetry in facial expressions. 2014 [online] Griz and Norm blog, Available at: http://grizandnorm.tumblr.com/post/79975572030/tuesday-tips-asymmetry-in-facial-expressions-a
This is a recent a progress I made with my character. His skin looks slightly different on these screenshots than it looks in Maya on the PC, which is slightly worrying me. I’ve added an extra paint layer on which I’ve added some pink onto his face, to make it look better as the colours seemed to me to be very cold before. I mainly painted in “Flatten to UV” mode, as it is probably the easiest and quickest way to do it in Mudbox. His face seems to be a bit to shiny, I’m guessing some lighting setup was also imported from Mudbox, but I think I can go around it in a final stage, when I set up my own lights in the scene, so I’m not too worried about it right now.
My progress since last week in modelling my main character, Shaun. I still need to model his shirt, add details to his belt(right now it just looks like his shirt is ending there) and add a tie to him. Next would be unwrapping, texturing and rigging him. According to my timetable I should already be doing that so I’m a week behind. There’s also only two months left till the deadline so I might used my backup plan and used a prerigged character for my female character. I’ll probably make the final decision by the end of next week. I’m still not sure about his eyes, as they do look kind of creepy in my opinion, however a similar design worked well in “Hotel Transylvania”, where Dracula’s eyes were similar. Another good example from that movie is Johnny, who also has long, narrow eyes). This short clip gives a good example of how many amazing expressions Sony animators were able to achieve with this character:
It clearly doesn’t just focus on facial expressions, as there’s a lot of running around and body movement but in my opinion the expressions that character makes make the entire scene much more enjoyable and interesting to the viewer, therefore I would argue that they play the major role in making us, the audience empathise with the character.
Hotel Transylvania – Johnny
Hotel Transylvania – Johnny 3
Sources: image 1: http://www.visualhollywood.com/movies_2012/hotel_transylvania/photos/
image 2: http://pixshark.com/hotel-transylvania-dracula.htm
image 3: http://hoteltransylvania.wikia.com/wiki/Dracula
image 4: http://pixshark.com/hotel-transylvania-dracula-bleh-bleh-bleh.htm
image 5: http://pixshark.com/hotel-transylvania-johnny-stein.htm
image 6: http://hoteltransylvania.wikia.com/wiki/File:Johnny_broom.jpg
image 7: http://www.rotoscopers.com/2012/03/14/first-official-images-of-hotel-transylvania/
So last week I’ve started working on my final project, a short animation in which I’m going to show everything that I’ve learnt about facial animation this year. I’ve got to admit that it’s going a bit slower that I’ve planned, as always I have some issues when modelling character’s head. I should get it fixed by the end of this week. Plan for next week is to have this character finished and show some progress in modelling female character.