Cararra and Mimic Pro Experiment and Question



  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,109
    edited December 1969

    I love your experiments with eye movements and such. I think that, now that you have this done really well, you should try to apply 'focus' to the eyes, rather than random movement tests. I know that it has been suggested to point them at a helper. You can do that, too, I never do. I actually keyframe in what the eyes are doing for the reason that they move at an incredible speed. Moving a target from here to there will work great for a moving subject that they eyes must track. But for giving a speech, general conversation, etc., watch how a person's eyes can shift from looking at the recipient, to looking away. But check out out quickly the eyes can entirely reposition themselves. Bam... they're looking over here!

    I've used a simple method of applying a blink just a split second prior to a major change in eyes direction, which really works well. This was a trait that I've noticed in a few people as I was accidentally ignoring what they were saying, because I was too busy focusing on animation techniques... horrible right?

    But so first, I set the final eye focus change, and add the movements needed to keep the eyes focused on that location afterwards. Ten I come back to before the change, and drop in my Blink NLA Clip. then just before the blink, I keyframe the eyes to focus on what they were focusing on before the change. I prefer doing all of this tedium by hand. To me, it just gives me more control to make the eye movements look more human, and natural.

    During some conversations, there are two or three people being addressed, so the eyes can rapidly switch from one to another, but I've noticed that the speaker, unless professionally trained to do otherwise, will have a specific comfort zone target. Whether the person feels more comfortable looking past the person their talking to, averting them, or that one of them is often more agreeable and, henceforth, a more comfortable eye target, we almost always have this comfort zone target for our eyes. Our eyes then find it necessary, whether we realize it or not, to 'test' the other targets for potential focus comfort. This is where I see eyes move almost faster than eyes can see - as far as movement is concerned. With a blink or not, all of a sudden in an instant, the eyes switch to another target. Often times, just as quickly they'll move back to the comfort zone. But then, if any comfort, or even distraction occurred during the 'test', they will check back to that target again - and possibly back to comfort again.

    It is this instantaneous eye movement that makes some animations really look amazingly realistic, even if the model does not.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,109
    edited December 1969

    Anyways, I hunted down this thread to show you this new product. I've been waiting for something like this:
    Temptation and Drama for Genesis 2 Females by Alfin and smay
    I really hope that they're making one for the males too... probably.

    These type of morphs are really handy for adding quirks to the phonemes of different characters. Instead of dialing these morphs wide open, as shown in the demo video, I just use subtle values to add differing facial moves during speech and other animations. Really glad to see this!

    I often collect as much of this sort of thing as possible. My collection is growing, and it all helps tremendously when I'm in the middle of an animation. It's so nice to be able to do several facial moves with just one dial, as it's easy to control later for shutting it back off, making it stronger, whatever.

    350 x 455 - 48K
  • JoepingletonJoepingleton Posts: 746
    edited April 2014

    Thanks for the tips and feedback.

    The cartoonist in me (and maybe my laziness) as driven my experiments to try to quickly create "acceptable" lip sync. Each experiment is limited to less than an hour's worth of work. The programmer side of me has also charged my experiments with the desire to find a formula for achieving these goals. So far I am not happy with my results.

    Using the NLA clips from Mimic in Carrara makes things easier. But like Sci Fi Funk's tutorials point out, it's output leaves much to be desired. The mouth is getting better the more I play with the settings and do some minimal adjustments. More experiments are needed.

    The eyes have been the toughest "nut to crack". They seem to be the key adding life to the character. Chris Jone's eye experiment ( is very inspiring on how to move the eye in a realistic manner. I tried pointing the eyes at a target like his example and that seemed to help. But I found that if I used the default tween, the eyes just "floated" between keyframes. My last experiment used an "ease in" tween, and it seemed to tone down the "float". It's still not "right", but it gives me hope that there is still a simple way, again more experiments are needed. Maybe no tween at all would be the way to go. I'll have to try some of your suggestions.

    The product you posted looks great. Unfortunately after looking at how much I have been spending at DAZ, I have come to the conclusion that I have spent way too much on a "hobby". I need to start using what I have, rather than always dreaming of the next great product. =)

    Post edited by Joepingleton on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 18,109
    edited December 1969

    I hear ya! LOL But looking at these can give some great examples on making our own, right? ;)

    Yeah, I was watching Clone Wars, nothing new there, but the time I'm referring to was the first time I've seen it - the intro movie.

    Ashoka, Anakin's new padowan, just told Rex that, if experience is what she needs, she better start getting some. When Rex points out that an energy shield was coming at them, her looks from him to the shield really hit me as being excellently timed. Her eyes maintain position during the entire blink, which takes very little time, and only after the blink was finished do her eyes jot over to catch the oncoming danger. The actual eye movements are very sudden. This is something I've noticed a lot while observing real people. Sure, there are plenty of smooth, slow eye motions that we use. But there's also a lot of involuntary, and really fast eye movements as well.

    I really like a lot of the work you've been doing with the mouth movements. Nice and natural, subtle... realistic. We humans don't take the time to shape our mouths for every sound that, according to proper diction, requires it. At least in America we don't. A lot of the shapes and sounds blur through. Some people even talk an awful lot, without hardly any movements at all! Again, I think that the animators of the Clone Wars 3d animations are brilliant, and have been a great learning tool for me. Not just lips and eyes, but all of their animations.

  • JoepingletonJoepingleton Posts: 746
    edited April 2014

    I love the work done on the Clone Wars cartoons and can't wait to see Star Wars Rebels.

    You are right that we don't always take the time to shape our mouths for every sound. I think my Spanish experiment has my best lip sync so far, and it might be because I don't speak Spanish and I was able to concentrate on the mouth more than what she was saying. But i could be way off because I can't tell if it looks correct to Spanish speakers. =)

    Post edited by Joepingleton on
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