Thursday, January 20, 2011

the faceblog

i'm taking a facial animation class this semester.  we create and animate a face, complete with synchronized dialogue.  that involves two of the things i like least about computer animation: modeling and animating.  so, why am i taking this class.  1. the digital painting class is already beyond capacity and i'm not sure i'm ready for the "rendering and shading" class (or something like that).  2.  it's taught by fred parke.  who?  he's the guy who, in the early seventies, created the first (ever) computer animated face (at the u of u--the origin of all computer graphics--along side the guy who is now the president of pixar).  my friend compared it to taking C++ programming from the guy who invented the C++ language (that guy also teaches at A&M and my friend did take his class).  i guess the best i can say is that i took "pearl of great price" from joseph fielding mcconkie, although this is more like taking it from his dad.

at any rate, i'm rather excited about this class and our first discussion today was really interesting (i was also sitting on a giant love sac, which i think helped).

as part of the class, we have to keep a blog to track our work and progress over the semester.  so, for those of you interested in whatever the heck i end up doing, you can follow the intricacies of it all on the list of blogs over there.  and for those of you who aren't especially interested, you can continue reading my usual esoteric rantings and tangents here at your leisure.

our first assignment was interesting enough: to give ourselves an idea on just how much a face can stretch and change, we were to spend 15-20 minutes in front a mirror, making all sorts of different faces and observing what happens.  any of you who have spent any time with me or looked through my iphoto library know that this is like assigning me to watch a black and white movie; i'm doing this all the time anyway.
if we wanted, we could take pictures of ourselves.
i tried separating them into exaggerated expressions,

 and smaller, subtle changes.  sometimes, i wouldn't even consciously change my expression but would just change what i was thinking about and try to record the changes.

in class today, we talked about all the great advances in facial animation ("avatar" and "tron: legacy" being two notable ones) and it was noted that this is mostly done in action movies, where the acting is mostly on a large scale.  so far, there hasn't been much (or any, that i'm aware of) done in the small character drama movies.  while clu looked pretty darn good in "tron", they still can't capture the incredibly minute but amazingly powerful performances of something like "the wrestler" or "babel."  and i don't think they ever will.
anyway, it's a cool class and i get to make faces.  bonus.

(if you happen to look up dr. parke on wikipedia, he's not actually 93 years old....)

1 comment:

The Former 786 said...

I'd like to think that you're thinking of me in the 10th picture of the second series.

Also, oddly, enough, I found your face blog before I read this post and wondered how long ago you had started it.