Lectures: 10-1pm, Mondays (starting 10 January)
Location: Bahen Centre for Information Technology, Room B024
Instructor: Chris Landreth.
From the moment we were born, we have been hard-wired to see the minute
details of human faces. We recognize a friend we haven't seen in 30
years, we know when someone is faking a smile, we sense something is
wrong when a person breaks eye contact for a half second. We know
when a face is 'right' or 'wrong' within a moment of looking at it.
For these reasons, mastering the human face is one of the most important
kills of CG artists in the field of character animation,
and it also poses some important scientific and technical challenges.
This course will explore the art, as well as the science, of the
human face. We will focus on observing human faces, and recreating
and animating the faces of CGI human characters. For this course,
a solid background in computer graphics is essential, but an artistic
curiosity about the form and movement of humans and CG characters is
just as important.
The course format is 13 weeks of one meeting per week. The first third
of the course (4 sessions) will focus on observing and drawing faces
from different views, and exploring the biomechanics of the face through
the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), created by Paul Ekman in 1978.
The middle third of the course (4 sessions) will focus on using these
principles to build (rig) an expressive, animatable CG face in the
animation program Maya. The final third (5 sessions) will focus on
animating--'acting out'--faces in Maya. Here you will learn about
recreating the expressions of eye movement, emotional subtext in facial
muscles, and 'microexpressions' in facial acting.
Each course session will include exercises that will account for 5 to 10
percent of the total grade. By the last session, each student will have
sufficiently mastered the art of rigging and animating a CG face model
to create a short sequence of facial animation, using film or captured
audio dialogue of his/her choosing.
This exercise will cover 25% of the total grade.
The final component of your grade will be a technical project on a
mutually agreed upon topic that models, simulates or controls some
aspect of facial animation or workflow.