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ShadowMystic
06-20-2012, 04:30 PM
I will soon be doing my first facial animation, and I thought I'd ask for some tips on building my first setup. I want to experiment with both endomorphs and an actual bone rig. I foresee that joints will be the one to go in that area, but if anyone has an example they'd like to share would be appreciated.

Any tips would be appreciated for common problems. Like dealing with linear interpolation of morphs for things that need a curve? like blinking?

SplineGod
06-20-2012, 06:31 PM
Ive used both morphs and joints to do facial rigs. Theres various ways to get that up. Ive also used other methods as well and am experimenting with some others.
If you use morphs you do get the issue of linear motions. The way around that is to also use corrective morphs to give a bit of curvature to another morph or even to add in things like wrinkles etc. You can tie the corrective morph channel to the main morph channel so that its automatic. You can also do the same with a bone rig...corrective morphs can be driven by certain bones. On top of that you might consider using bump maps or other textures driven again by certain bones or morphs.
To manage all this I generally use IKBoost to manage everything as facial "poses" that I can easily edit in the dopetrack.
IVe also got a rig where I use IKB with objects as controllers to puppet a face using morphs. Again IKB is used to treat it all as poses rather then messing with morph mixer and the graph editor. Once done I convert it all to a morph mix and export to others who may be animating a character so they can just load the morph mix and go.
Heres a demonstration of a rig I setup in a head using bones and IKBoost. As I said, I would also add corrective morphs in top of all this where needed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pHqyB-nBEs&feature=plcp

ShadowMystic
06-21-2012, 12:14 AM
Ive used both morphs and joints to do facial rigs. Theres various ways to get that up. Ive also used other methods as well and am experimenting with some others.
If you use morphs you do get the issue of linear motions. The way around that is to also use corrective morphs to give a bit of curvature to another morph or even to add in things like wrinkles etc. You can tie the corrective morph channel to the main morph channel so that its automatic. You can also do the same with a bone rig...corrective morphs can be driven by certain bones. On top of that you might consider using bump maps or other textures driven again by certain bones or morphs.
To manage all this I generally use IKBoost to manage everything as facial "poses" that I can easily edit in the dopetrack.
IVe also got a rig where I use IKB with objects as controllers to puppet a face using morphs. Again IKB is used to treat it all as poses rather then messing with morph mixer and the graph editor. Once done I convert it all to a morph mix and export to others who may be animating a character so they can just load the morph mix and go.
Heres a demonstration of a rig I setup in a head using bones and IKBoost. As I said, I would also add corrective morphs in top of all this where needed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pHqyB-nBEs&feature=plcp

Thanks for all the info. I was actually playing with joints a little earlier which sadly I've nevfer done before. Only recently I really heavily entered CA. I see potential in creating a web of joints with each intersection group set to have a null as their position item. I've heard theirs no need for a rig for morphs but I'm seeing that the best will be a combination of morphs, joints, and weights. More experimentation is needed

SplineGod
06-21-2012, 12:57 AM
In the end it really depends on the type of characters. The more cartoony means you probably need something less sophisticated...maybe just morphs without the need for corrective morphs as well.
I generally use IKB with bone rigs mainly because of the animation management tools build into it.
Its very difficult to treat morph mixes as poses that can be easily manipulated. With the right setup endomorphs can be easy to work with. :)

ShadowMystic
06-21-2012, 01:01 AM
In the end it really depends on the type of characters. The more cartoony means you probably need something less sophisticated...maybe just morphs without the need for corrective morphs as well.
I generally use IKB with bone rigs mainly because of the animation management tools build into it.
Its very difficult to treat morph mixes as poses that can be easily manipulated. With the right setup endomorphs can be easy to work with. :)

I am going to introduce my own demoreel as a talking head so near reaslism will be needed

ShadowMystic
06-21-2012, 01:12 AM
My problem will be that despite the immense experience of some posters I need to do my way to really learn WHY these things you suggest are needed. RH once explained an arm rig set up with the xy plane goal type but I couldn't see what he meant til I did a couple sequenceswith the rig I had to seewhy I needed to adjust

ShadowMystic
06-21-2012, 01:14 AM
I do need to learn IKB tho.

SplineGod
06-21-2012, 01:46 AM
Its good to know why youre doing things. The example you gave of using the pole vector is important to know the underlying reason when and why to use the pole vector. It all boils down to what is required to create a good rig or what defines a good rig. What are the things the face needs to be able to so and then determine which aspects of LW will help meet those requirements. :)

RebelHill
06-21-2012, 04:24 AM
Bones/joints are a bit of a waste of time for face rigs in LW. U can get some basic setups that do more or less what they're supposed to... but try to push them or get any real performance out of them, and forget about it.

The most flexible way, by far, is to use morphs. With combination style morphs tied to a controller setup you get a massive range of posing achievable, much easier control over the shaping, and proper arc'd motion... check out the OF head on my demo reel for an example of such a setup in action.

Ryan Roye
06-21-2012, 06:57 AM
I'd recommend getting a good grasp on endomorphs before moving on to other methods of facial animation... while I like to use joints for quick fine-tuned controls and morphs for general movements (for facial), there is a lot that is made more difficult you don't understand the workflow of manipulating and editing endomorphs. For someone starting out in CA (character animation), I recommend familiarizing yourself with that first, then move on to experimenting with other tricks like mentioned above. While I am no expert, I do have a much fresher memory of what it is like to be a beginner :)

The apply morph tool is your friend, look up how to use it. Get to know the concept of using -100% values with that command to preview and tweak your morphs.

Most importantly, there are so many ways to rig things as mentioned...

-Do what works for you. Your brain, UI habits, projects, etc are not the same as everyone else's, so what works for someone else may not work for you.
Example: My ideal rig emphasizes simplicity above all else: having the most animation possible for the fewest number of user commands ... whereas another artist may emphasize a more intricately designed rig maximum control and polished results even if animation takes longer.

-But stay open minded. Don't dismiss rig methods that you don't understand. Find ways to integrate the knowledge that other animators have and assimilate them for your needs.

Can never go wrong if you keep those two admittedly contrasting points in mind.

ccclarke
06-21-2012, 09:49 AM
Don't forget the most important tool of all -a small mirror next to your computer.

Using your mirror, ensure your character's facial expressions match those you create when reciting the script.

You can do some nice work with LW with morphs, though you'll probably need to create 40 - 60 of them in advance to draw from. Place the audio track on the timeline (using the Scene Editor) to get your keyframing right and be prepared some long hours the first time you do this.

CCC :thumbsup:

ShadowMystic
06-21-2012, 11:34 AM
Don't forget the most important tool of all -a small mirror next to your computer.

Using your mirror, ensure your character's facial expressions match those you create when reciting the script.

You can do some nice work with LW with morphs, though you'll probably need to create 40 - 60 of them in advance to draw from. Place the audio track on the timeline (using the Scene Editor) to get your keyframing right and be prepared some long hours the first time you do this.

CCC :thumbsup:

I know about the mirror,but I thinking I'm going to film myself reciting the lines for the first time to really see the transitions ect.

ShadowMystic
06-22-2012, 12:15 AM
My early tests have been nothing but successful! I am as giddy as a schoolboy sadly for something so small. With two joints and a weight map I'm getting decent looking deformation and skin pull/stretch for the lower jaw. I figured that would be the simplest place to start. Its a comforting feeling to discover that just because one hasn't done something before does not mean one does not have the skills to accomplish it. I've already sketched where controls need to be places as wells as the hierachy.

SplineGod
06-22-2012, 12:35 AM
Good, glad to see its working out. Do lots of experiments. :)

DigitalSorcery8
06-23-2012, 03:57 PM
For lipsyncing... I HIGHLY recommend TAFA from Mac Reiter and Timothy Albee. Excellent for getting morphs to perfect audio sync.

http://ta-animation.com/FA/

It is VERY easy to work with and provides instant feedback. Some of my models had more than 100 endomorphs and you can do anything including puppeting things like eyeblinks, eyebrows, snarls, etc. Of course this method doesn't really use bones or joints - just endomorphs. And it's not cheap - though at $200 it's less than half what I paid - and I still consider it money extremely well spent. And you can do LOTS of tweaking to get things just right.

And they do have a demo. :goodluck:

snsmoore
06-25-2012, 02:24 PM
I agree with DigitalSorcery8's suggestion on TAFA for lipsyncing(and facial animation). It is really easy for beginners (like me) to get good lip synching with very little learning overhead. The UI is really easy to use and you get immediate feedback as you are animating your lipsyncing. See the sample videos. (It actually is one piece of software that is as easy to use, as it is demonstrated in the sample videos.)

SplineGod
06-25-2012, 02:47 PM
If youre using endomorphs, I would also recommend TAFA :)

06-26-2012, 01:00 AM
I tried downloading the TAFA demo, but it seems Win only?! There isn't a Mac version?

littlewaves
06-26-2012, 08:22 AM
I tried downloading the TAFA demo, but it seems Win only?! There isn't a Mac version?

There's NEVER a mac version

switch to windows for lightwave. Save yourself a lot of pain.

I absolutely HATE windows but in the end for 3D working on a mac is like playing with a man down. It's just not supported as widely as windows. There'll always be cool plugins you just can't get for the mac.

Unless Apple ever make (or buy in) their own 3d app I don't think that will ever change (And I really doubt they'll ever do that)

06-26-2012, 09:52 AM
Thank you! :thumbsup:

Julez4001
07-04-2012, 11:28 PM
There's NEVER a mac version

If you are a mac user and a 3d artist, get used to that expression.
All artist uses a mac is a myth. A really big lie.

Windows/PC are your friend.

SplineGod
07-05-2012, 12:05 AM
I dont understand the whole "I hate windows or I hate Mac OS" thing. Ive used both. They more or less work the same. I click on icons to run software, drag n drop files etc. I have never found one to be any more or less stable then the other. I dont get on the computer to bask in the OS all day. If I can find the LW icon, double click and start working im good to go. In the end I chose windows for two simple reasons:
Theyre cheap and plentiful
Software
The many years I worked in LA At various studios I never worked at one that used Macs in any siginificant way. A couple of ppl here and there used them sometimes for compositing or video editing and some audio. The 3d artists for the most part always used PCs including most of the compositors. The renderfarms were always PC based.
This is a fact thats been widely known for years. I used to use Amigas and loved those, I had a Dec Alpha, loved that but it suffered from the same problem as the Macs. In the end no amount of complaining changed the situation other then moving on to windows. I also have had problems when working on something from home with LW on a PC, had to work with a client using Macs only to find that because most plugins wont run on a Mac I had to resort to mdscanning some animations to get them over to them.

Scazzino
07-09-2012, 02:56 PM
I also use morphs for facial animation. Here's an example I did a while ago as a test using just morphs, morph mixer and the scene editor (and graph editor) on the Mac.

Tunafish
http://dreamlight.com/media/videos/insights/autitons/DLI-0090-TunaFishHD.mov.html

:thumbsup:

SplineGod
07-09-2012, 04:35 PM
Thats very nice Mike :)

DigitalSorcery8
07-09-2012, 07:20 PM
I also use morphs for facial animation. Here's an example I did a while ago as a test using just morphs, morph mixer and the scene editor (and graph editor) on the Mac.

Tunafish
http://dreamlight.com/media/videos/insights/autitons/DLI-0090-TunaFishHD.mov.html

:thumbsup:


Thats very nice Mike :)

:i_agree: Though too bad TAFA isn't available for the Mac - it would have been much faster and easier to get that create lipsync animation!

Scazzino
07-09-2012, 08:28 PM
Thanks guys. Yes it was rather tedious using just the scene editor (dope sheet) and graph editor, TAFA would have been useful if they had a Mac version. :thumbsup:

tudor
09-21-2012, 05:49 AM
I prefer morphs at all times.
Check tudortbl on youtube for some of my examples.

what I do is this..
I create A, E, M, O as the basic morphs.
I connect these to locators where M and A are opposite directions.
E and O are opposite directions.
So.. one locator moved up/down gives M or A.
moved in/out gives E or O.
then I run into A and E combined which would ideally give a really big smile.
I combine those to an AE morph, and correct it so it looks good.
I then fade out the A and E morph if I pull in both directions on the controller and instead fade in the corrected AE morph.

Surrealist.
09-22-2012, 05:24 PM
This Book (http://books.google.co.th/books/about/The_Artist_s_Complete_Guide_to_Facial_Ex.html?id=Y lIzCO5u30sC&redir_esc=y)

If not mentioned already, is probably easily the bible of facial animation. If would be a good study before doing any rigging or animating. I took me a couple of months part time and I plan to use it as a reference. The information is really priceless.

daforum
09-24-2012, 05:50 AM
Cool link to the book (and others too) Surrealist :thumbsup:

I "collect" expressions. By that I mean I cut out faces from magazines, newspapers etc and paste them in a sketchbook.
Got a lot of good ones and it's very useful.

daforum
09-24-2012, 05:51 AM
Cool link to the book (and others too) Surrealist :thumbsup:

I "collect" expressions. By that I mean I cut out faces from magazines, newspapers etc and paste them in a sketchbook.
Got a lot of good ones and it's very useful.

SORRY FOR THE DOUBLE POST!!

Surrealist.
09-25-2012, 04:35 AM
Yep. The author used a lot of references from photographs from various sources as part of his study. The best ones are when people are not acting unless you are looking for something like a fake smile. Nothing like good ol' life observation. I was really impressed with how well documented the expressions were in this book and always linked to the muscle groups that create them and how - which direction they are pulling, from where they anchor and to where they attach (for example from what bone anchor to where under the skin). And then the role of each one in creating expressions and which muscles are involved in various emotions and which ones are not. These are all fundamental bits of knowledge when creating facial animation. When you have these under your belt, creating any expression - realistically - is greatly enhanced. There is far more to facial expressions that phonemes and raised eyebrows. I mean there is a lot going on in a face, and with these simple muscle groups nailed, it makes expressions come to life. Because you are portraying emotion. How this emotion plays out on the face is in the anatomy underneath when we are talking about the technicality of rigging and/or creating shapes for animation. And like he says in the book, we are the best experts on facial expression. We know when something is right or wrong. We might not be able to tell what it is, but we know instinctively when it is wrong. And this is what the book answers. And I don't think it really matters what type of animation you are talking about. Even simple cartoon animation could be enhanced with this knowledge.

Funny thing about this book is I bought it back in 1995. It just looked good. It was something I needed I figured when I was ready to study it, this was as good of a source as any. I had no idea until I actually sat down and started reading it this year how great it was

Then I saw it listed here:

http://softimage.wiki.softimage.com/index.php?title=Face_Robot_-_Recommended_Reading

Which is also another good link for more reading on the subject with some other volumes listed.