Face Animation, Part 2
Hey Folks! More work on faces today. Yesterday's test was a fairly good proof-of-concept, but still had a long way to go before it could be used in production. Adding a second face (the "Akiko" one in today's screenshot) to the mix showed a lot of deep flaws in the animation. Yesterday's face (let's call him "Jones") had some significant shape differences that weren't compatible with Akiko.
I knew almost from the start that the face rig I used yesterday would require tweaking. For one thing, it had no way to position facial features if I wanted wider/narrower faces, or square vs. rounded jawline. And using Perlin's face as a template meant the style was locked-in to what he was aiming for: an extreme polyhedral portrayal of a face (think diamond-shaped eyes).
In this game, I'd like a somewhat softer face. Still flat-shaded, as that looks good and is easy to blend features against. But with slightly more realistic proportions. And Akiko is a step towards that (basically, more like how I drew her, rather than how Perlin's face mapped).
So this is rig version #2. The eyes have extra verts to reduce that diamond shape, meanwhile I ditched a full ring around the mouth for simplicity. It might not work, but I actually found it tedious to move inner and outer lip verts, and I'm not sure it added much. Eyebrows similarly have an extra vert in them to reduce the pointy stretching from earlier. Finally, there are some jawline verts for sizing/talking, if needed. (There are also some organizational changes, like making bones to move the clusters of eye and mouth bones around, instead of having to move each manually.)
It's still in the process of getting rigged, and then I have to redo the animations. But if we're lucky, this'll be a step towards a more standardized face template and rig, and one I can populate with some more variety.