Inspired 3D: Constructing the Inspired Character Part 3 (continued from page 1)

Face targets like this are normally sculpted to the maximum range, which can be used as the production dictates. If the shape is a 100% frown, then the production can use this shape in increments of 20%, 40% and so on, to create frowns of less intensity.

Local face shapes are broken down into specific regions. These regions are separated into left, right and center regions. If there were a smile to be modeled, the blend shape would be a left smile, a right smile and a center smile. This gives the animator a lot of control as to what part of the face will be affected by the blend shape.

For this project, the local blend shapes were a necessity. But because I know that the vast majority of animation time using blend shapes was spent trying to get multiple blend shapes to animate as a single channel, I also added some blend shapes that took up an entire region. I modeled a left smile and a right smile, and I also modeled an overall smile as well. I modeled a left furrowed brow and a right furrowed brow, and I modeled an overall furrowed brow.

The jaw was to be animated using a skeletal setup. The jaw position is not animated using blend shapes. The modeling of the blend shapes had to be coordinated with the animation of the jaw. Figures 36 through 47 show the jaw in various stages of being opened or shut along with the blend shapes being shown. This helped visualize how the blend shapes would behave during the modeling process.

I was careful to try to keep the mouth blend shapes from affecting any other regions, and the eye blend shapes localized to the eye region. In this way, these particular shapes were hybrid global/ local blend shapes. They affected an entire area, but only the area intended to animate, not the entire face.

When I was creating the localized blend shapes, the areas that were affected stayed on one side of the face. There were many shapes not shown here that broke each part of the face into even smaller regions. These regions were isolated to areas like one eye (Figures 42 and 43), one eyebrow (Figure 45), or one corner of the mouth (Figure 46).

Most blend shapes are modeled about 20% past the most extreme point where the animator is expected to use them. This allows for more elastic animation and gives greater flexibility when combining blend shapes.

[Figures 42-47] Localized blend shapes.

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