I have found a really nice blog where they post some great great animation shorts. If you haven’t seen some of them, you must check this out.
Well, it’s been quite a while since the last post, I’ve had very busy days but I have found time to write another part in the series of Making Faces.
On the third day, It was about the most important facial muscles, the way they work and their place on the face. Chris pointed out that there are many many more muscles on our face that allow us to make facial expressions, but he just gave us a small list of the ones that have more influence in each shape we can create with our face. In the end of the class, he let us a brief homework, which was make a map of all of those muscles and draw them in our own face, so we have a direct reference on what muscle does what. Here it is and just below a short description of each one:
Both images are the same, except one has names and a little sketch of where they actually are on the face and the other one is clean, so you can see the face. Some are funny 🙂 and the last one is a relaxed/expressionless face… just to compare.
1- Frontalus: Its function is to rise de eyebrows. It can be pulled in 3 different parts by some people, which let them rise onle one brow.
2- Corrugator Muscle: Located in the globella. It pulls inwards and make the face look angry.
3- Levitor Palpabre: Makes blinking possible. It can be in normal state, relaxed when the eye is closed and tensioned when it shows more eye blanks.
4- Orbicularis Oculi: It is not attached to the skull so it only floats in with the skin, and it works for squinting the eyes.
5- Alaeque Nasi Labius Superiors: It makes wincing faces.
6- Labius Superior: It pulls upside and it can be tensen just one side. When only this muscle is pulling, there’s no deformation on the nose or the bridge of the nose.
7-Zigomatic Mayor: It’s the main smiling muscle. It pulls upwards and to the sides and create a bulge on the cheeks.
8- Boccinator: When eating, it helps to keep the food in the mouth.
9- Triangularis muscles: Make the frown face.
10- Lower Lip Muscle: Makes the SSS sound
11-Mentalis Muscle: Helps to make the frown face by pulling the lower lip.
12- Incisivus Muscle: It makes the kissy face.
13- Risorius Platysma: Creates great tension in the neck and pulls the corners of the mouth down.
14- Orbicularis Oris: Can push out the lips as in “sh” sound, bend the mouth inwards as in “p”, and lip locking and tight lips.
This is a really light description of each muscle but it is best if you see it by yourself in the images or even better, on a mirror by yourself.
If you have any questions, please make them below.
It’s been a while since I last posted, mostly because I’ve had a lot of work and been doing different personal projects at night, but since the very first moment I finished my last animation I was thinking about posting a breakdown of the process that’s taken to animate it from planning to the final render.
In the first place, I compiled my animation demo reel for this year about a month and a half ago, and after showing it to different animators, I was told by a fellow, Alex Kong, that my demo reel was short in motion mechanics and a cartoonish style. So he suggested me the audio from May on 11second club to get that covered and also put me as an example the very first place of that month.
- 1. Becoming one with the audio
So I get started by hearing the audio many many times, until I get used to the general timing, accents and rhythm, then start writing down ideas of what it could be, what can I done with that audio. Many ideas popped out (I can’t recall many right now :P) and in the end I thought that the approach of an elevator gag would fit great.
In this point, even though it is not related to animation at all,once I decided what would my characters be doing, in parallel I start making the scene, picking one of the many free rigs that are all over the internet (this is very important to me, because I get to know the rig, its benefits and limitations) , customizing them, modeling the background environment, adding materials and a few textures, getting the scene lighted and the first teaser of the render. I love doing that process, it gets me to imagine what it would be looking like when it’s done.
This is what I’ve got
- 2. Video Reference
I started making video references, the first couple ones just trying to follow the audio but not thinking too much about it, just letting it flow naturally, then I watched what I had and start gathering some movements that fit well together, and when I have a couple of structured ideas, I recorded new ones, trying to see if they could really fit the audio and keep the performance believable.
- 3. Thumbnails
Next step was putting those ideas down on paper (in this case… digital paper), so I begin to draw the key poses on a free version of Digicel FlipBook and make them hit the accents on the audio. This was a pretty straight forward process, because I already have the main idea on my head. And I like to make it on that software because it has many advantages: you can see and hear the audio along the way and you have a digital light table as a 2d traditional animator artist. It’s not necessary say that I’m not the best 2d animator in the world, and the idea is not to have a perfect and constant proportion of the characters, but for me, just have the main idea of what will be going on.
This is what it looked like at this point.
It was very important along all the process to ask for feedback to as many fellow animators as I could. So every time I’ve got a new step done, I sending the video everywhere. It’s a key thing on doing animation, because some times you get used to your own ideas and maybe there are things that could be improved.
Once I have the general idea through thumbnails, I proceed to transfer it form thumbnails to keyposes on Maya, this is not a copy paste of what I have already done, instead I just use it as a guide and as I go forward taking some changes from the previous feedback or what I think could feet better with what I’ve got on stage. Here take place many big changes, first of all, I removed the other guys that climbed up to the elevator, in behalf of focusing myself on only one character as Alex Kong’s feedback suggested. Also I found that some thins looked good on 2d, but will look unrealistic when putting them on 3d, they simply don’t fit any more, those include some little steps, goings and comings of the character.
I have to say that I really like the animation on stepped mode, it’s way too snappy and it let you hit the audio accents very precisely.
Here it is what it look like at this moment.
(Asked More Feedback) Getting from stepped to splines could be a difficult task to tackle, because just when you change from one to another your holds get lost, the accents are blurred and all the timing is messed up. I have found a way to lower the impact of the initial transfer from one to another, but that will be covered in a next post.
What I’ve focused here is to preserve the best that I can the timing and that the accents are done in the right moment. And of course making sure that the arcs well done, fixing some weight and balance issues.
At this moment.
- 6. Polish
(Even more feedback) At this point it is almost done, and what I’ve focused to do on this last part, is to start making some subtle changes and adjustments, like the position of the fingers, checking that they slide and touch properly, refine the follow through and overlapping action, making the knees and arms bending in arcs.
And at last, batching the render…
Gorilla Resources Blog is THE place where you can find a really well selected compilation of websites dedicated to animation and it’s so great that it is divided by every step you normally do when making an animation, from scratch and thumbnails to planning, blocking and polish. Also including some acting and body mechanics articles and how to make your characters stand out on screen. It has articles form all the most talented and important animators in the world.
This is definitely the most transcendental “must have in bookmarks pages” I have found across my life as an animator and I’m glad that you can know it and learn from it too.
It has recently changed its name to Gorilla Resources Page, because when I first knew it, it was called ARC. Just as a little hint.
This is a very funny set of animations by Simon Tofield, where the main characters are Simon and his cat, which is always hungry and gets itself into many different and hilarious situations. And of course they are really well animated in 2d, which make this little pices an excellent way to see great animation and at the same time having some fun.
They have got such success that they have their own store, games and community. Here is the link to their official website
I leave you here one of my personal favorites.
I have just found a perfect match between animation and science, specifically physics, on New Scientist Site. They are short videos, about a minute long that explain some simple or complicated physic theories whit haste but completely understandable language. It´s all about simple drawings and a great way to explain every step, you can learn from the Shrödinger cat, particles behaving like waves, dark matter and some more. It´s worth taking some minutes to learn a little bit about this interesting things.
Here’s an example. I can’t post here a video itself, but you can watch them on the page.
After learning about the work that has been done by David Couchariere, I saw one movie that I hadn’t seen before: Flushed Away. And yesterday while I was working on another animation, I was watching it in the background, but it was SO funny that I had to stop doing my animation and only see the movie.
I don’t know if it was that the jokes were made in a peculiar british accent, or that the look and feel of the movie was too much like Wallace and Gromit or Chiken Run, or because there were many delicious practical jokes, but definitely it’s a movie that is worth watching. And despite the plot is really common the whole combination of jokes and art keep your attention until the end.
There are few videos on the Internet that have great quality and accurate information on them about animation, but as I wonder through many sites and posts, I stumbled upon a series of videos that have specific tips that are great to know when animating a character.
They include Eye Direction and it’s meaning, Eyelids: how they work, Head Direction: how do we can make our character look in a certain mood, Blinks: when and how to use them, Mouth Corners: how to use them and Eye Movement: How the entire eye moves when looking in different ways.
There’s no need to say that the one who made this videos, Ugur Ulvi Yetiskin, is a really talented animator
Here is one example:
And you can see the rest over here