IOL week 9
As I was focussing on character animation as my IOL direction, and this week’s theme was around the experimentation on the chosen IOL direction, I wanted to explore more about facial expressions and the relationship between facial expression and body language for the depiction of a particular emotion for my bird character that I am working with.
In order to conduct this week’s experiment, I worked with four elements, various rigs, camera angles, facial expressions and body language. I used the bird character which is the main character of my studio project
1. Rigs experiment: Before starting with the experimentation, I tried creating different types of face and body rigs for the bird character in order to analyse which rig works the best for the bird to depict its emotions. I used some face rigs, some body rigs, sometimes a combination of both. I also experimented with a body-only rig, where the bird’s wings and face were not involved, instead they were only controlled with the help of changing the pivot axis of the individual elements.
2. Face expressions: I thought about all the possible reactions that the bird needs in the studio project such as happiness, sadness, shock, excitement, sleepy, laziness in various points across the animation. In order to experiment all these expressions with the bird, I started with bird in Maya, started creating various facial expressions, with the help of tweaking the rigs, and key framing it. I also experimented with the individual elements not attached to the rig for the experiment. While some rig options worked perfectly, others did not provide much control. I also felt at a point that the body-only rig without attaching the wings to the body offered more control.
3. Camera angles: In order to extract the best expressions out of the bird, I also decided to use and work with camera angles. I experimented with different camera angles for the bird and I used multiple cameras often in the same scene to achieve it.
4. Body Language: I also tried compiling the body language, movement of the bird’s various body parts such as wings, feet, tail, and beak in order to support the emotion the bird is trying to portray.
In the end, I had a series of iterative experiments with the bird, where I had developed expressions like happiness, sadness, joy, sleepy, lazy and so on. Playing with the camera angles in addition to the facial expressions proved to be beneficial to the experiment.
After conducting this week’s experiment, I realised that in order to convey the impact of facial expressions on the audience, all the three elements, the camera angles, facial expressions and secondary body movements are very important. Through this experiment, I came across a learning that sometimes, following one single camera angle can lead to monotony, whereas just changing the perspective can help with the ease of conveying the expression to the audience.