Facial Animation Using Layering Method

In 3D animation, facial animation follows the layering animation method. We start working on the mouth, then the eyes, and build up the facial animation by adding the facial expressions needed for the desired emotions.

Creating phonemes for lip-sync

They should use the minimum amount of controllers or shapes around the lips including :

Jaw, lips wide-narrow, lips up-down, lips roll in-out, lips press and tongue.

Defining facial expressions 

Creating the character’s facial expressions helps to test all controllers and shapes, and makes sure they all work well together. 

They also keep the consistency of the facial expressions while we animate, as we are always starting with the same basic ones.

Using Morpheus Human Rig

Method of work

1 - Understanding the facial rig

    Looking at all controllers of the face, understanding their options

2 - Defining the emotions

    Posing the facial expressions of the emotions the character is going through while delivering the text.

    A prepared facial expressions model sheet helps this process to go faster.

3 - Preparing the generic phonemes

    It is easier to start posing the mouth with pre-created generic phonemes. It helps to keep the consistency of the basic mouth 


4 - Focusing on the mouth

    Positioning the generic phonemes to match each syllable of the dialogue.

    If there is no pre-created generic phonemes file, another method would be to only move the jaw up and down, to match each 

    phonemes sound, then shape the lips

5 - Polishing the mouth

    Adjusting the mouth by polishing the jaw, lips and tongue animation according to each syllable and smoothing out the 

    transition between each syllable.

6 - Blocking the eyes direction

    Setting up where the eyes are looking.

7 - Adding blinks and eyelid motion

    The blinks reflect a thinking moment. They can also happen when the eyes are changing direction.

8 - Polishing the eyes

    Using all controllers offered by the facial rig to polish the animation around the eyes.

    The animation of the eyes direction will be finalized after the head and body motion are better defined.

9 - Animating the eyebrows

    Accentuating the expressions of the eyes by adding the eyebrows animation.

10 - Refining the eyes and eyebrows together

    The eyes and the eyebrows work together to express the emotion of the upper face.

11 - Animating the rest of the face

    Animating the other parts of the face as forehead, temples, nose, cheeks, ears and chin.

12 - Checking animation curves

    Making sure all curves look clean.

13 - Adding body animation

    The blocking animation of the body is usually done beforehand, and polished while the facial animation is getting polished 

    as well. 

    The facial shapes can be re-adjusted according to the camera view.

14 - Final render

    Rendering with lighting, shadows and motion blur for better presentation