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In the previous section, I showed you how to create a library of six mouth shapes, and then to blend between them. And using a system like that, it's kind of hard to go wrong. Where you can get into a little more trouble is when you start creating custom shapes on top of that, and then really interchanging between radically different shapes. So one way to stay out of trouble is to group your mouth shapes into roughly similar graphical families. So at the top level, you see happy mouth shapes. And if you notice the outline, the silhouettes of these shapes, you'll see that they actually make a reasonably clean transition, one into the other.
Look at the second row, the same principle applies, the angry shapes. They all, more or less, have the same abstract shape. Let's look at them just in outline mode. So, again, on the top, it's very hard to imagine any transition from any one of these six shapes. Now I could make 20 shapes if I wanted to, but six for purposes of demonstration. It's very hard to see any bad transitions between these. I could move from this shape, to this shape, to this shape. And I think that would all look reasonably smooth. And the same for the second row. What happens if we mix and match? What happens if we go from this kind of mouth shape to this kind of mouth shape, to this one, to that one? We get something like you see on the bottom row.
Look at the corner of the mouth in particular, and the curvature of the upper lip. It's really all over the place. So let me lay down some of these on the timeline, and let's see what this looks like when you actually begin to move these. So here we have a happy sequence of static mouths. And I've just taken that upper row of happy mouths and just put them down at random. It's animating about a, every key frame is held for one, two, three, four frames. So obviously it's not smooth, not smooth at the in-betweens. So what I did was I just made some basic shape tweens so we can see.
Imagine that, that's like a fully 30 frame per second or 24 frame per second animation. Looks all right. And here's the angry sequence. Same principle. Now were I to hand draw tweens between these, they would smooth it out. But we can deal with, just with simple shape tweens and see what that would feel like. I think that's pretty decent. Now let's show what happens when you mix and match. It doesn't even look real anymore. The, the corner of the mouth, follow that. There's no way any character's mouth should be doing that. That would, that would break your jaw. So this is something to watch out for. Not to say that you can't go from a happy sequence into an angry sequence but it'll probably only happen occasionally.
If I'm speaking happily and then I switch to an angry voice like that then of course you go from the happy mouth shape to the angry mouth shape. But you don't go back and forth every four frames because that's just not going to be believable. And now a quick word on eye blinks. And they're usually fairly straightforward. Here we have the typical eye blink pattern from the traditional era. What we would do would be wide open mouth, and then for two frames you would see the 1 3rd closed. Two frames on the closed position, and again if you held that for one you probably wouldn't even see them as being closed, so hold them for at least two frames maybe even three if you're on 30 frames per second.
1/3 open and open that's the classic golden era eye blink pattern. So let's see what that looks like with the generic flash character. Now I have actually shaped between this so he is moving on one. So you still see that's a very nice little natural eye blink. And of course in actual performance you can push this a little more and in this case I have actually moved the head to follow with the blink, bringing the eye brows down and the entire eye mask area compresses. So it's a little more dramatic. This is more of a reaction-take shot where the character's looking at us, very briefly, and then he's looking at the top screen right.
So I really wanted to flag it. Don't have to do this with every eye blink. It would probably look a little awkward, but certainly keep this in mind when you want to a little bit of extra business to it. So it's good to have little muscular eye blinks, but also if you're doing a lot of it, then there's nothing wrong either with a static one like this.
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