Watson Films | Facial Expression Test

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    We’ve been gearing up for our next project, and today I thought I’d take a crack at doing some facial expressions, as our next movie will likely rely heavily on dialog.

    First I tried to match mout movements to words, then I tried to match the movements of the head with the face. Finally, I put it all together, and I was very pleased with the results.

    What really surprised me was how quickly I was able to put it together – especially since this is the first time I ever attempted it, which means that it could be doable in an actual movie.

    It’s not perfect. Things that I want to fix include:
    – expressions with the eyes (eyebrows, blinks, etc.)
    – the size of the eyes. They don’t fit this particular character

    Anyway, that’s enough talking for me, here’s the Test. This is, of course, a clip from our last film “The Citizen of the Year”. I added the face onto it, and covered the eyes. The mustache is the one that is actually on the character in the movie.

    Please give your comments/criticisms about it.


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    I find it amazing how well this looks. According to our friends at Spite Your Face, computer-animated faces while the actual figure moves is extremely hard to do.

    I think the colours were spot on, which really sold the effect.

    One question remains: what software did you use?




    Very cool, guys!While it didn’t top Jay Silver’s test, it was very well done.For facial expressions, I’ve been drawing my own faces on paper, scanning them, and use Zwei-Stein to overlay the face (ugh).
    How did you guys accomplish this?I hoped you used freeware (for my wallet’s sake).



    Wow, very nicely done. The mouth and eyes really appear to be drawn onto the figs head.

    How did you do this?



    That was impressive! I agree, the facial expressions fit very nicely with your filmed minifig. How long did it take you?


    King Ellessar

    HOW did you do that?! Thats awsome 😮


    tma films

    chemical productions, just paste



    It’s not perfect.

    It looks very convincing already; a dialogue-heavy film like “The Citizen of the Year” would really benefit from the use of animated mouths. 🙂

    Things that I want to fix include:
    – expressions with the eyes (eyebrows, blinks, etc.)
    – the size of the eyes. They don’t fit this particular character

    Those improvements sound very promising indeed. 😀



    Thanks to all for the compliments.

    This may get a little wordy, so bear with me.

    As we were getting some plotlines drawn up for our next film, the idea for animating faces came up. I had thought about it before, but convinced myself that it would be far too time-consuming. This time, however, it occured to me how I could speed up the most time-consuming part, which is matching the motion of the head. My explanation below shows the solution I found.

    First off – sorry, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to achieve this effect the way I did it with freeware. I used AE.

    Secondly, how did I do it?
    -First, I animated the face (basically just the mouth, in this case) to the speech. I rendered it out.

    -next, I keyed out the backround on the face video, and put it overtop of “The Citizen of the Year” clip

    -To match the motion of the head, I did a camera track of the character’s right eye (from our perspective). At this point, the face layer was moving with the head.

    -finally, I had to rotate the head and make various adjustments so that the perspective of the face layer matched the characer’s head.

    The entire process took me about half and hour. Since this is the first time that I’ve ever even attempted something like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if I could get it down to 15 minutes with practice. If the head wasn’t moving much, it would be much faster.

    If there is something that I didn’t explain too clearly, don’t hesitate to ask. Like I said, it’s a little wordy.

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