Facial animation is a serious bottleneck in any computer generated (CG) production. The face plays an important role in verbal and non-verbal communication. Everyday, we see many faces and interact with them in a variety of ways: talking, listening, looking, making expressions. Thus, facial animation is the key element to convey emotion to 3D characters. Reproducing the subtleties of a face through animation requires developing a sophisticated character rig. Speeding up the rigging process remains an unsolved problem, specially for film and videogames, which require high quality results. The character rigging is analogous to setting up the strings that control a puppet. Today, skilled artists manually create the facial rig to ensure the best quality in the animations; but, this is a slow, labor-intensive and costly process.
This talk will describe our on going research and the new trends on character animation techniques used in videogame and films, such as motion capture and skeletal animation. I will also explain the complexity involved in the rigging process and the reasons why facial animation remains a challenge. I will present a portable character rigging system that integrates into current animation pipelines. I will also describe a new sketching control system for facial animation.
The session will end with an open discussion about the future direction on character animation.