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.

Tags: Ostranauts


Marc13Bautista's picture

Heck yah I love the sound of this!!!! Haven't seen a game do some live player portraits since... Doom?

Free Elusive Skill = Athletic x4 in ATN Enclave encounter

spacecowboy's picture

So are you trying to make the eyes more naturally round or trying to make her look Asian lol? Nice work by the way as always!

Rovlad's picture

So I assume that means we're getting predetermined characters for the crew in each playthrough?

dcfedor's picture

@Marc, I'm hoping it works out, too! I can't think of many live character portrait examples other than Doom, and maybe the Sims. (Sim City, too, I think?)

@spacemedic, both :) This is the same portrait from earlier. The old static asian girl face. But it's also trying to use more verts around the eyes to avoid the sharp corners.

@Rovlad, yes and no. I think what I'd like to happen is for the starting conditions to vary depending on the character gen process. Maybe you start with crewmates, maybe solo. But in all cases, you'll be able to fire and hire new crew.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture

Nice, that's basically best of the both worlds. Looking forward to the official announcement!