Sunday, May 15, 2011

Face Shape Research Essay

When animating a 3D character it is important to set up certain facial expressions for the character prior to animating it as it will not only make things slightly easier, but also ensure that the character is portrayed 'in character' through out the movie.

Although one shows a vast amount of emotion in ones face, one must not under estimate the power of body language. Therefore when one creates expressions for ones character it is important to consider the fact that the character is going to be positioned in numerous poses. Additionally when animating the character it is important to use the facial expressions and body language together and not allow one to oppose the other.

Expression Analysis:

The Character Who I have chosen to analyze is Rapunzel from Tangled. Considering that Rapunzel has been locked up in a tower for most of her life she is often amazed at all the new things she encounters in the world around her. The animators have managed to show her awe and amazement in combination with many other facial expressions, which really brings out the character and personality of Rapunzel.

Expression 1:


In this first facial expression Rapunzel is gazing at the dress she made for Pascal. This is not something which she finds too exciting so her smile is not a full one as she is smiling slightly with a closed smile and her eyes don't show too much emotion. Her eyes appear to be gazing past Pascal, not exactly at him. This gives the viewer the sense that she is not quite satisfied and is longing for something more.

Furthermore she is leaning to the one side, this indicates that she is not alert to what she is looking at but she is quite comfortable and accustom to it. Additionally her smile is stronger on the left hand side of her face and weaker on the right hand side of her face, the side which she is leaning towards. This emphasises the fact that she is not that interested in what she is looking at.
However at this point in the movie she has not yet voiced her dream to go and see the lights, it is for this reason that she is still smiling at Pascal and she doesn't look completely bored as the viewer and Rapunzel have not actually realized her desire to leave the tower.

However on an aesthetic level the unequal smile makes her face more dynamic and makes the expression more interesting. Therefore even though she is pulling a slightly bored expression it is not boring for the viewer and therefore manages to keep our attention so that we will see and consider how she is feeling.

Expression 2:

(Cap 'n Carrot)

This Image comes from the scene where Flyn Ryder has come into Rapunzel's tower and she has him tied to a chair with her hair. This is an interesting Facial Expression because it is Rapunzel's first encounter with something from the outside world.

This expression is distictaly more alert than the previous one, seen by her wide open eyes and her more erect head. Her huge eyes show her amazement at what she is seeing, she is taking it all in and looking at every aspect of Flyn. However her closed mouth, which is almost pouting, expresses her fear and uncertanty. Because her mouth is closed it acts as a barrier between her and Flyn, this barrier is emphasized by how tightly closed her mouth is.

Her uncertanty is highlighted even further by her slightly skew head which shows that she is not completely confident about what she is looking at. Another indication of her uncertanty is the way her head is pulled back defensively into her shoulders, her one shoulder is even in front of her head protectively.

Expression 3:

(Prison Break Freak Dot Com)

This image is from the same seen as the one above however the emotion portrayed is quite different. She is excited as she has just negotiated with Flyn that he will take her to see the lights.

Her eyes are still open in amazement, however her mouth is smilling a wide open smile. It is no longer acting as a barrier between her and Flyn. Her whole face is open and excited. Additionally her head is even more straight as she is certain about what she wants, which is to see the lights. Furthermore her head is pushed forward away from her body, in contrast to the way it was pulled back to ward her chest in the previous expression. Her shoulders are square as she is more open to what she is seeing.

However as Rapunzel has always been taught, by her mother, to be afraid of the outside world she is still protecting her self from it with the pan which shields her body from Flyn's.


The three examples shown above indicate the way one can keep a character 'in character' while still portraying different emotions. In examples 2 and 3 Rapunzel is shown both inquisitive and excited however she is portrayed protecting herself from the outside world, something she has been taught to fear. The self protection is shown manly through her body language which demonstrates the importance of it and the way one can combine both facial expressions and body language to portray interesting emotions.

Text sited

Cap 'n Carrot. "Tangled". This is Dad's big Plan. Wordpress. Web. 15 May 2011

Prison Break Freak Dot Com. "Tangled". Prison Break Freak Dot Com. Beany Host. Web. 15 May 2011

Rajan. "Tangled". Blogspot. Web. 15 May 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Character Modeling Research ssay

When modelling a character it is important to take into account the way in which the body and face deforms with movement. A sound model will allow the character to deform in the most natural way. A way to ensure that the model will deform correctly is to follow certain edge loop structure. While every model is different there are some basic guidelines which one should follow. One should take particular care when modelling the face, shoulders, knees and elbows. As these are body parts which perform a lot of movement.


Good facial modelling “means knowing about the relationship between features on the face, what the changes in those relationships will do to the expression, and how to be in control of all that with the simple tilt of the head or the addition of a crease” (Osipa, J). Therefore “good point layout isn’t simply modelling cleanly, with evenly spaced edges and quads; it is to model for movement” (Osipa, J). Bellow is an image from Jason Osipa’s book Stop Staring which demonstrates the effect good edgeflow can have on the movement of a model versus the effect bad edge flow can have on the movement of the model.

Jason goes on to explain that it is important to facilitate good movement from one face shape to another. All facial shapes will be modeled out of one basic shape and while each shape is important on its own, the motion it defines between facial shapes is equally important. “This is why good edge flow in the layout is not just technically important, it’s also artistically quite helpful” (Osipa, Jason).

Bellow is an image which illustrates the shape of the edgeloops which one needs for a face.

(Werner Ziemerink)

One will notice there are circular edge loops around the lips and nose. These edge loops will define the smile liness. The “creasing which happens here is probably the most pronounced on the entire face” therefore it is important that the edgeflow allows it to happen in the correct places and shape.

As seen above the eye area also follows a circular edgeflow however one needs to make sure that there is an “almost ‘gridlike’ area off th side that leads away from the eye towards the ear” (Osipa, J). This will help one get a natural compression around the outside of the eye.

Finaly the nose area, which acording to Jason Osipa is an area which is often approached in numerous manners that he believes each have there pro’s and con’s. However there is one edgeflow which he says is important it “is simply that the top-of-the-nostril feeds into the nasolabialfold and that whatever is happening underneath the nose allows for a lot of compression and expanssion of the lips later”.

The Shoulders

While the facial area is one where a lot of motion occurs there are other areas of the body which are equally as important, namely the shoulder. One needs to ensure there is good modelling and edge loop construction in the shoulder as to allow for realistic movement. According to Werner a common error which people make is to pull the arm directly out of the characters body without establishing a shoulder. Bellow is an example of an alternative way of modeling the arm and shoulder to ensure that one establishes a proper shoulder area.

Although this is not the only way to model a shoulder it is a good one as it creates an edgeloop which runs straight from the chest and around the arm. This allow for a more natural bend of the arm against the body.

An alternative way to do the edge flow around the should, as suggested by Werner, is to create the edge flow as seen bellow.This method is an alternative one which also works well as it acknowledges the shoulder area and therefore allows for natural deformation of it.


Ultimately it becomes appaarent that edge loops are not used purely because they help create an appealing mesh, but are rather used to assist in the deformation of the character. While the face and shoulders are not the only areas of the body which need edge loops they are two important ones. However by understanding edgeloops one can apply them to other areas of the body which will need to deform. The important thing to think about when building a model is how each areas is going to move and what will allow for the best deformation of the area.

Cited Work:

Osipa, Jason. Stop Staring: Facial Modelling and Animatino done Right, third edition. Canada: Wiley Publishing. Inc. 2010. Print

Ziemerink, Werner. Master Classes Luma. Lecture