AM - Class 4 / Week 7 - Lecture

Walk-Through: Animating Facial Expressions.

Like all art forms in general & animation in specific, its always good to build your foundations based on reality, in case of facial expressions its important to grasp a basic knowledge in anatomy, behavioural science, & of course the world around you. Victor Navone, the host of this lecture recommended three books to learn more about facial expressions:
The artist complete guide to Facial Expressions, Unmasking the Face, and Man Watching.

An important thing to consider before you start posing/animating the face is the character's physiology, whether its 
a catoony or character or a realistic one, in both cases you want to respect the design of the face, pushing the facial controls too far will make the character not look the same anymore, the character should always look consistent even
when the facial features are moving through poses.

Lots of the animation principals also do apply to facial expressions, like squash & stretch, overlap, follow through, exaggeration, avoid twinning, etc.

When tailoring Animation Mentor's Bishop model, keep in mind that female characters has a thinner & higher eyebrows, smaller mouth & nose, larger eyes, and overall curvy features, while male characters has heavier lower brows, bigger nose
& mouth, and more angular features.

Its always appealing to play with curves & straits when working on facial expressions, for example, when posing the eyes,
a curved upper lid with a straight bottom lid looks much more interesting than having them both curved in a similar manner, also a curved lid that is favoring one side is a lot more interesting than a curve that looks like a perfect arc, same rule applies to the mouth.

Quick notes:

- Design your facial expressions according to the angle of the camera for maximum readability.
- Make sure that all different parts of the face are connected & working together.
- Make sure that all facial expression are simple & easy to read.
- The eyes are the most important part of the face because its what we look at first as an audience, its essential for communicating thoughts & emotions.
- Avoid symmetry when posing eye lids, & when posing both eyes together.  In general you might want to avoid S curved shape on the lids unless its very subtle.
- If the character is looking three quarter to camera, you want to keep the far pupil visible to camera & not hidden by the nose.
- Eyebrows should feel connected to each other as they move.
- The inner part of the eye brows tend to move more than the outer part.
- Victor referred us to a helpful article on his website for eyebrows posing
- All the above rules Apply to the mouth.
- Pose the facial features to reinforce the direction of the eyes.
- In order to give the feeling that facial features are connected together, its good to shape the nose according to the mouth, shape the eyelids according to the pupil, lower eyelids according to  the mouth, upper eyelids according to eyebrows.
- Lead the body change of pose by changing the facial expression first, followed by the body, & remember keep the head still when changing facial expression to read clearly.
- Don't make the facial features move all at once, either lead with the eyes followed by the mouth, or the other way around.


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