Wolf's head (test animation)

Hey all,

I am a bit stuck with making a complex animation that I need for the second part of “Mrrshan” tetralogy. For now I am experimenting with a wolf’s head animation just to improve my skills a little bit. I will post here any progress and hope that someone will give me some advices/tips.

Initial animation: youtube.com/watch?v=-v61t2ye1jQ
It’s just a solid contour of a wolf’s head without anything else.

To do next:
Draw raster textures and try combining it with above contour.

Noise distort, noise gradient for texture and some plant layers for fur?

Well, I am not going to use any sort of distortions or gradients for textures, because I like raster graphic more, so textures will be just a set of png images. Plant layer for the fur is a good idea, but I never used it before.

To be honest, part that scares me the most is perspective - I will totally screw it.

All right, I’ve finally managed to combine raster textures with vector regions in a sort of acceptable way… Perspective is still not implemented, same goes for proper shadowing and fur, but at least there is some slow progress.

Improved animation (raster textures over vector contour): youtu.be/eqUQq4Cirs0

To do next:
Implement a perspective so eyes and the face texture doesn’t look so terrible.

OK, this time I corrected raster textures a little bit, added some morphing animation and experimented with the perspective (most important part). The eyes look better now, but I am still not satisfied with the perspective as a whole.

Animation: youtu.be/nIguYKJaF9I

To do next:
Add shadowing and lighting or try to create a realistic fur (this seems harder to achieve).

“Look like” a 3d animation … good work !, take care, soon you will own the right to write a head turn tutorial for the wiki :wink:

Haha, you’re kidding… It’s so FAR AWAY from something, you know, good. So I guess some years may pass before I master a head turn, lol.

Anyway, here is a new update:
Shadow + Light + Fur. Fur doesn’t look very good and it was quite hard to implement so I might redo that part in the future. Lighting/Shadowing is done completely using Bevel/Shade layers. Also, increased resolution of the resulted animation.

Animation (left one - only lighting, right one - the whole scene) : youtu.be/XTk7fNGfZcY

To do next:
Vertical movement of the head (as looking up/down) and fast translation between states as from face to half-profile then to back without of that boring linear shift.

All right, I completely re-worked my template and it’s now more about morphing rather than transforming. And yes, I simplified raster textures because I couldn’t adjust it to fit good with the new animating technique.
In this test, I tried to do a look up/down and attempted to do the fur right.

Animation: youtu.be/6g1mLhuS6vU

Next I’ll try to do a simple emotion test, like smiling, eye blinking, eyebrows moving, but no talking yet.

Looks great. Better then the previous version. You are making progress every time. I am not even going to ask how you do this because then I will spend half the night trying to do it myself. :smiley:

It is strangely hypnotic… :slight_smile:

Incredible result ! can’t wait to see has a living character.

Thanks guys :slight_smile:
Test on emotions and especially talking test seems very hard to me, but I’ll do my best. I just have to bring this character to life after all the time I spent on it…

I’ve completed my first ‘emotional’ test. It was a lot of fun, but I also discovered a lot of problems that need to be solved in my current template.

Check out those silly emotions: youtu.be/VACKaaHKzIY

Next, I’ll try to make the guy talk or, maybe, experiment a bit with more complex emotions, like sadness, crying. Not sure yet.

Nasty problems I found and have to think about it:

  1. The fur. It’s a plant layer with ‘alpha-over’ blend method. If I make some morphing/transforming animation, the plant layer removes needed parts of the layer under it. To put it simply, I need to correct fur layers almost on every keyframe I make. Noticeable at 20-21 seconds where it removes part of the left ear.

  2. Manual morphing. Some shapes (face) morphs automatically so proportions are always right whatever angle I use. But others are not (nose/mouth) because it’s too complex and I do morphing manually (and make mistakes). Noticeable at 6 seconds where I definitely screwed the form of a nose.

  3. Z Depth. It’s actually the Devil. Let’s say ears should be behind the face. But what if we look down? Then we’ve to bring ears above the face layer. How to make a smooth translating between those two steps? Noticeable at 11-12 seconds where you can see how ears are roughly changes its Z Depth values.

  4. Shadow/Light. It’s done completely using Synfig’s bevel/shade layers. It’s a very good stuff, but doesn’t always work. Pause at 26 second, you now see ears are illuminating from below. It happens because shade layer makes shadow where it shouldn’t (it’s not a bug or anything). I might make a different topic about this one.

Above points are just my grumbling, so I don’t forget about it next time :slight_smile:

Aahahahahahah!!! GREAT! Marvelous! I am friendly… maybe a bit TOO friendly. I watched this at 6 in the morning and it made my day. Put your grumblings aside, because this is genious. Good work!!

Oh my, thank you very much for such positive comment, Dirk! I am glad you like it, such appreciation keeps me moving forward, thank you once again!

I like it.

As a suggest, when someone blink the pupils must be down.

You can test yourself. Look at this text. Try to blink maintaining the look here. You can’t (you need to blink very fast but it is an illusion. Your pupils are going down very fast, too).

So, when you are animating a blink, go down the pupils (or eyes), and go up with the opening. Your blink animation will look better.

Are you sure about it? Check out this link: youtube.com/watch?v=Fmg9ZOHESgQ
It’s an eye filmed in slow motion. Man at 1:25 blinks and you can see that pupil isn’t going down. Or did I just misunderstand your comment?

I think that it depend. Of course you can force to you if you make a normal (fast) blink and your eyes had made correction. In animation blink (slow) if you don't pull down a bit the pupil (eye) the animation seems unnatural. Of course it depend of the "size" of the pupil (eye) and other factors, but it is always safe get down a bit the pupil and follow the movement of the blink.

In this two blinks, the second would be more natural than the first.

Blinking contest!! :smiley:

4 frames, 2 drawings, static pupils. (click on pic to view gif.)

Hmm… Thanks for explanation, looks interesting, although I never heard about such technique. I’ll definitely try it when I return to this work.

P.S. I am actually a bit lost here with all that blinking stuff. I guess I am gonna record myself on camera doing crazy blinking and other emotions with eyes and then analyze the result.