Sorry for the lack of updates! Since the group project ended, I've been busy with a couple of projects that were due at the end of last month. The main one I'll speak about in another post (as it's a pretty huge project) but the other, I'll talk about here!
The personal inquiry module was set just before we broke up for Easter and it was a pretty interesting assignment and one I really liked the idea of from the get go. We were set a brief to find a relevant topic that interested us within the realm of computer graphics or animation and create either a 15 minute presentation or a poster based on the information we'd learned from our research.
These posters/presentations allow others in the class to learn about our topic, so the week was there for everyone to discover and gain a basic understanding of new techniques in the industry or existing techniques from a more in-depth perspective.
From the start I decided I wanted my focus to be on Animation. The two topics that interested me the most were Quadrupedal animation or Facial Animation. In the end I decided to go for Facial animation because Quadrupedal animation was an incredibly broad topic and I was unsure how best to narrow it down into a short presentation! Facial animation turned out to be a similarly huge topic but I was able to narrow it down to Hand-Keyed Facial Animation and Expression (as previously my research had taken me all over the place, looking at motion capture and the uncanny valley in hyper realistic faces, which wasn't my intended outcome originally!)
For my presentation, I mainly focused mainly on how animators could break down the face into different areas (primary, secondary and tertiary movement areas) I also researched common mistakes animators make when animating the face (not blinking or blinking too much, lipsynching every letter etc) and researched tips from popular animators or animation schools on animating the face effectively.
The abstract for my presentation is below
"The human face is a complex form that is capable of conveying a range of different emotions and expressions through muscle position, blink rate and eye movement. Since the early days of CG computer animation, we have sought to understand and replicate the human face. Human facial movement subtleties are a necessary part of our non-verbal communication as a species and as a result can be difficult to convincingly recreate digitally. This talk seeks to analyse and explore some of the nuances involved in human facial movement and expression. I intend to highlight techniques that can be used to enhance a facial animation performance from a character animation perspective and will discuss methods of breaking down facial movement before animating. I will be identifying and referring to common facial animation mistakes and will demonstrate methods that can be used to combat and refine these for a more convincing performance."
Presenting is a little out of my comfort zone, but I felt like I did alright and I didn't go too far over my allotted time and was able to answer any questions with confidence, which was good! If you're interested in the symposium and some of the topics people presented, here's a link to the NCCA Symposium website, which has the abstracts for all of the presentations and posters shown on the week! I've definitely learned a lot this week and really enjoyed listening to what other people had researched/expanding my knowledge on topics I didn't know about before, some of the MSc presentations were particularly eye opening, coming from a much more technical perspective than my course!
Once the course is over, I'll consider sharing my slides on here (as I don't want to accidentally interfere with my marking by uploading before it's been graded/reviewed) Edit: If you're interested, my slides are here!