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.
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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". www.rajan-animationinfo.blogspot.com. Blogspot. Web. 15 May 2011