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Catching up on Weeks 2 thru 4

October 12, 2013

Hello!

Sorry for the lack of posts – between personal issues and being generally scatterbrained, I neglected to post progress of my work. Last time I mentioned working on morphs between Darwinian expressions… Well. With the limited capabilities of Paula compared to the human face, it’s been a stretch. I scrapped much of the work I already made since I felt unhappy with the results. Instead, over the past few weeks, I have been practicing my skills in making more theatrical faces with the software in order to have better experience before attempting to tackle these other expressions.

I had fun making these. Many are a bit silly, but I feel are still valuable in learning how the human body makes expressions. I still needed to go through my usual motions of studying faces online and making the face myself, or variations thereof, and looking in the mirror or even taking photos to have a good reference.

What is interesting is that while I make these faces, even if I don’t start off feeling a certain way, making the face begins to make me feel whatever emotion it’s meant to convey. For example, if I try to make a melancholy face, I begin to feel a bit sad even though I’m just practicing for my research. Conversely, if I make a silly face like Flynn Rider’s “Smolder” from the Disney film “Tangled”, I begin to feel like a dorky wannabe Casanova, but it certainly makes me laugh and enjoy myself.

I continue to believe that the eyes are an integral part of emotion, and this is part of what makes capturing emotions on a 3D model so difficult. Many cite the robotic movements of unpolished animation as what adds to the “Uncanny Valley” – I do not deny this. However, I feel another large part of the creepy factor lies in the emptiness found in the character’s eyes. I continue to attempt to subvert that with Paula as much as possible. Thankfully, the controls for the bones in her face are very forgiving in their limited range, so I can avoid creepy unless it’s what I’m aiming for.

Now without further adieu, here are some samples of work I’ve been toying with for the past few weeks. I gave a name to some of these theatrical emotions, but I think it would be fair for you to take a guess at what each could be!

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