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1 Tutorials LightWave 3D Basic Facial Setup - Part 1 em Qua Jan 26, 2011 3:06 am


by Tony G.

the purposes of this tutorial, I'm going to use
the head shown here. I built it using a point-by-point
method similar to the one discussed in Dan Ablan's
Inside LightWave 6. You can use any head for
this, but I strongly suggest a sub-patched model
with as few patches ("polygons") as possible
- more complex models will be much harder to
manipulate, and subsequently they often won't
give you as clean of a result. Less really is
more. Notice the density of the mesh in the selected
area; this is quite a bit of data to manipulate
for our facial expressions - if we have more
data here, this activity becomes progressively
more difficult.

If you don't have a ready-made
head to work with for this tutorial, load up
one of the stock heads in "Projects/NewObjects/Heads",
make sure all it's polygons are patchable (i.e.
turn any polygons with more than four sides into
triangles) and turn on Sub Patch mode.

I'm assuming you're familiar
with the basics of EndoMorph setup. If not, refer
to the manuals, or to the endomorph handout from
last term.

This is easiest of the eyes,
teeth, and tongue are in separate layers from
the skin - if yours are in the same layer, either
relocate them to separate layers, or hide them
while we work.

  • We will begin by selecting
    and naming various parts of the head that
    we will want to manipulate. You might do
    this for each part before you begin doing
    anything else, but for now, let's just make
    them as we need them.

  • For instance, I selected
    the eyelids, as shown below, and used the "Display
    / Grouping / Change Part Name" tool to give
    these polygons a selection name (this is
    not the same as a surface name - part names
    are used for selection purposes in Modeler,
    something like Point Selection Sets, but
    for Polygons).

  • Next, we want to establish
    a baseline setup
    for the various facial
    parts - I like to set this base shape to
    a midpoint in the motion that part will
    have - the mouth partly open, the eyes
    partly closed, the jawbone rotated about
    half way through it's typical range of
    motion. With some animation setups, this
    would help to minimize stretching, but
    with morph targets, I do it because of
    the linear translation between targets
    - so for instance if the eyelid had two
    targets (opened and closed) and we morphed
    between them, the points affected would
    travel in a straight line from start to
    finish, passing through the eyeball, and
    not quite looking right anyway.

  • I established a baseline
    for the eyelids by making the eyeballs visible
    in the background layer, and rotating the
    eyes to a half-closed position, as shown
    in the image below. I also used the stretch
    tool to keep the eyelid close to the eyeball
    - we don't want a gap to open up between
    the two.


Note: that
I've changed the sub-patch display setting
in Modeler (o - Option Panel) - it pays to
turn this up to 4 or more from time to time
to see what effect your edits will have at
higher sub-division settings, though I like
to turn it back down to 2 or 3 to speed things

  • Now we start by selecting
    the Eyelid for the left eye (use the part
    name to select, and then deselect the other
    side), and making targets for it. The procedure
    is shown in the image above: 1. select the
    polygons, 2. choose "M" Morph map mode, 3.
    select "new" from the popup list, and 4.
    Give the new target a name. Be sure to use
    a period (.) in the name, and make the targets
    for a given part all have the same prefix,
    or your morphmixer will be all jumbled up
    later on.(i.e. make all the Left eyelid targets
    with the prefix "Leyelid", and so on).


Once you "Ok" the Create Endomorph" requester
you'll be editing the target you named (so
changes will not alter the base object). From
here on, I used the Move, Rotate, Stretch,
Magnet, Pole, and Drag tools to alter my shapes
- I won't bore you with too much specific instruction
on shape editing --- just edit the forms as
you see fit to get something like what I have
in the example images.

  • Since we called the first
    target "Leyelid.Open", you'll want to open
    the eye back up. I only opened mine to a
    normal (relaxed - open) pose. If you also
    want extremely wide-open eyes (for a take
    or to exaggerate surprise), use a separate
    target for that pose.

  • Be picky about point placement
    as you make these targets. I'm only editing
    six polygons, so is pretty easy to grab each
    point and drag it if necessary.

  • As well as editing the
    eyelid itself, we need to stretch the eyebrow
    a bit - look in the mirror and open and close
    one eye, and you'll see why. Select the two
    polygons shown below, and scale them vertically
    about 5%, with your cursor centered at the
    bottom of the selection, as shown.

  • Select the polygons on
    the left cheek bone, and pull / stretch them
    down just a touch (something like what we
    just did to the brow).

  • Next, make a new target
    called "Leyelid.Closed" and edit the eyelid
    so it is closed, (but not squinted squint
    will be separate target). As shown below,
    we'll also want to pull / scale the eyebrow
    down a bit, and inwards from the outside

  • Now select the whole left
    half of the forehead, and pull it down a
    wee bit, to simulate the movement of the
    muscles above the eye when the eye is closed.

  • The cheekbone area should
    be pulled up a tiny bit towards the eye for
    this target - I did this by editing the three
    polygons shown on the left below. As well,
    select the polygon (s) at the outside edge
    of the eye-socket (as shown on the right
    below), and scrunch them down a bit (i.e.
    draw the top one down, and the bottom one


At this point we should have
a pretty good start made on this one eye. I
added one more target called "Brow.lowered" and
edited the forehead so the center of the brow
was lowered and drawn inwards a bit, and then
I saved my work, and tested it in Layout.

  • In case the procedure
    is unfamiliar, the steps to try this out
    in layout are: 1. Save your model, 2. Load
    it into Layout (or send it via the Hub),
    3. Select the layer / object with the skin
    in it, and open the Object Properties panel,
    4. Set Subdivision Order to "Last", 5. Apply
    the "MorphMixer" Displacement plugin, 6.
    Open the Morph Mixer interface panel, and
    7. Use the sliders to animate your model.

Test the motion of the eyelid
by setting up some keyframes and previewing the
result. You will find that the shaping is not
perfectly in line with the way the muscles in
the head should move; simply leave the model
set up as it is in Layout, and return to Modeler
- if the Hub is working correctly, you should
be able to edit the various morph targets in
Modeler, and have them automatically updated
in Layout. To get this right, nothing beats a
mirror! A small make-up mirror is available in
discount box stores for as little as a dollar,
and makes a world of difference.

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