Note: This blog post is only focused on facial shapes. Texture is still in progress.
Our main character Sintel has a total of 55 shapes. These shapes have all been hooked up to Nathan’s facial rig. Tomorrow I will start creating various poses (phonemes & emotions) for our facial pose library.
Some of my workflow when creating facial shapes:
– I start by shaping each in its symmetrical form using X mirror and proportional edit. For better precision and polishing, I move vertex by vertex.
– While the shape is taking form, I constantly scrub through 0-1 (0-100%) range value to ensure natural motion from default to shape. I also check to make sure motion looks natural from all view angles of the face (front, three-quarter front, side, three-quarter back, top, bottom).
– Overriding the shape beyond full value of 1 will help magnify any trouble areas and/or continue building from it.
– For shapes that need to mix well together, I activate two shapes at their full value and continue editing on the active selected shape.
– For mouth shapes, I open the jaw for inside mouth cleanup, ensuring the mouth is not intersecting through the teeth.
– Each shape is exaggerated beyond what is considered natural. This allows for better flexibility while animating. For closer shots, the animator can go from subtle to a maximum of about 60-70% of the shape. Pushing beyond 60-70% range is reserved for distant shots where the extreme maximum 80-100% of the shape can still be read from far away.
– As a final step I split the shapes up (example: left side & right side) using vertex groups and “Mirror Shape Key”.
p.s. Shape key creation in Blender 2.5 is awesome! 🙂