Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Actor's Studio, lesson 2 - Pallas modeling

Pallas model
Here is the finished model of Pallas. The purpose of this project is to augment my rigging and animation skill, but it's also an opportunity to become more familiar with facial anatomy, and pick-up the latest modeling and texturing techniques.

This is a character of medium complexity: halfway between a smiley face and a photographic face. Key facial details can be included to make a character more relatable. For example, when you add eyebrows to a smiley face, the range of possible expression is increased. The face that previously could only express happiness or indifference, can now feel anger, sorrow, mischief, relief. Below is a list of key skin folds that can assist in maximizing character depth.

head-modeling details
procurus & depressor supercilii - These are muscles between the eyes that are apparently only used for conveying aggression through the furrowing of the brow. In this area, the polygonal edges follow the direction of these muscles, so that the furrowing will be smooth. (For this project, the plan is to use driven displacement maps to create brow furrows, if that level of detail is required. However, that could change.)

palpebral sulcus - This is a furrow above the eye that holds extra skin, needed to close the eye. The furrow disappears when either the eye closes or the brow is raised. On Asian eyes, this sulcus is hidden by the epicanthic fold. In modeling, the sulcus can easily be created by tucking in one of the edge loops. When the eyes are in a half-open state, the presence of the sulci can help make the character look more relaxed / less alert.

lateral canthus - This is a groove on the outside of the eye where the upper and lower eyelids meet. It's minimized when the eye is opened wide.

nasolabial sulcus - This is a furrow that separates the nose and lips from the cheeks. Its the only skin fold represented in the aforementioned smiley face example (at the corners of its mouth), and beneficial for highlighting smiles and snarls.

oral commissure - This is the corner of the mouth where the top and bottom lips meet. In modeling, it's necessary to tuck the edge loops of the lips into these corners. Otherwise, the mouth looks strange and inhuman.

next: Pallas texturing
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