I wanted to take some screenshots of the process i took to do some stuff when i was setting up Pinkguy ready for rendering.
I toon shaded Pinkguy, and it’s a really simple process. I did this by going to the rendering drop down option on the left, and then to toon>assign fill shader>light angle two tone.
You can choose the two colours by selecting the circles above the two-tone area and changing the colour by selecting the box to the right of it (mine is pink in the example below). You can grab those same circles and hold them to slide them along, to change the size difference of the two colours. It gives you a whole lot of flexibility with how your character looks, and you can add more shades by clicking on the slider area (the area with two shades of pink in it). The boxes with crosses in them under the slider (parallel to the circles) are for deleting the colours in case you do too many. And there are a whole lot more options you can go through, but for this character that’s all i did!
Next i wanted to add an outline, so it gave it even more of a cartoon look. I did this by going to the same rendering drop down option on the left, and then to toon>assign outline>add new toon outline.
I set the line width as 0.040 and left it black and that’s all i did. I think it works really well especially when his arms are passing in front of his body, it just helps them stand out that bit more.
To animate the body i used motion-capture software. Which worked really well. But for the face i had to use blendshapes. Which involves modelling the face polygons (mouth, eyes, eyebrows, etc) into different shapes and capturing those in (blend)shape editor.
You do that by clicking on Create Blend Shape in the shape editor, then selecting the mesh you want to make a shape for (like the eyebrow for example) and then clicking Add Target. Then you select the vertices on the polygon you chose (the eyebrow) and move them around the way you want the shape to change. As you change it you can slide it back and forth to check out how it’s looking and make sure it fits the topology of the model properly throughout the movement. Then when it’s finished repeat the process for the rest of the things you need to create blendshapes for.
You have to make sure to name them all appropriately so it’s easy to use when it comes to actually animating as well, that is very important. This mean you can use a slider and keyframes to activate them when you are bringing the character to life. Below is the editor and a face i have made so you can see the sliders and where they are. I didn’t blendshape the chin in the end because initially the character would have his face covered by mask most of the time and it was overkill, but then i decided to animate more in 3D and made blendshapes for the whole face, and decided that the chin was overkill and unnecessary. I could have done one for moving the chin up and down and left and right, so it could sit under the mouth, or i could have probably parented it or something, but i decided that wasn’t going to add anything special to the actual animation so left it be as a fixed feature of the head so it separates the face from the body. I think it works well as it is and the face is animating really well!
Blendshapes i made for Pinkguy:
- small eyes (make eyes smaller)
- big eyes (make eyes bigger)
- blink (make eyes top and bottom meet in the middle)
- eyes up (move eyes up the face)
- eyes down (move eyes down the face)
- half moon eyes (make eyes bottom move up to middle)
- frown (eyebrows tilt)
- surprise (eyebrows tilt the other way)
- left eyebrow down (eyebrow moves down the face)
- right eyebrow down (eyebrow moves down the face)
- eyebrows up (eyebrows move up the face)
- eyebrows apart (eyebrows move away from each other)
- make big eyebrows (eyebrows grow in size)
- wider (mouth becomes wider)
- closes (top lip and bottom lip meet in the middle)
- big circular (mouth becomes a big circular shape on face)
- oshape (mouth becomes a small circular shape on face)
- oshapesmaller (mouth becomes a very tiny circle on face)
- smile (mouth middle moves down and sides move up)
- mouth up (mouth moves up the face)
- mouth down (mouth moves down the face)
- frown1 (mouth middle moves up the face)
- frown2 (mouth middle moves up the face and mouth sides move down the face)
And those are all the ones i did for this character! I could have done a lot more if i needed to get more expression out of him, but just these ones are good enough to express a wide range of different emotions when they are all used together.
Some examples of other blendshapes to get more out of the character would be:
- moving the facial features left and right around the head. Although you can turn the head using the rig, it would mean you could animate the face in different ways – set facial features further apart to create multiple looks (for different characters using the same model – which is what i am doing in my film a little bit).
- different shapes – like square, heart or star eyes – for a cartoon look when the character is reacting to something. It’s not really necessary for this film but it could be a fun thing to add to the character.
- thickness of eyebrows.
When it is all animated and ready i render it out using Maya Software. To make the model super smooth I go to Modify>convert>smooth mesh preview to Polygons.