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Animating changes in eye direction

From: Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Video: Animating changes in eye direction

Another common task in animation is changing your character's eye direction, so your character needs to be able to look at one thing and then look at another. Now, this is really just involves moving the pupils of the eye. Now different types of character rigs will have different controls for doing this. I selected this way of controlling the eyes, which is to select these two circles here, and then you can just move them however you want. Other types of rigs will have objects that the character is looking at, so you place a null object in the scene and character will always be looking at that object.

Animating changes in eye direction

Another common task in animation is changing your character's eye direction, so your character needs to be able to look at one thing and then look at another. Now, this is really just involves moving the pupils of the eye. Now different types of character rigs will have different controls for doing this. I selected this way of controlling the eyes, which is to select these two circles here, and then you can just move them however you want. Other types of rigs will have objects that the character is looking at, so you place a null object in the scene and character will always be looking at that object.

But however you adjust your character's eyes, the principles are the same. So let's do a simple change in eye direction. So I'm going to start with my character's eyes on one side, so let's say he is looking to his right. So I'm going to select both pupils, and then I'm just going to set a keyframe here at frame 1. And again, let's just start this at frame 10, so I'm going to set another keyframe at frame 10. So he is looking this way, and then he is going to look the other way.

So let's do this over the course of about a half second. So I'm going to it over the course of 12 frames, because I'm animating at 24 frames per second. And let's just go ahead and move his eyes to his left. So this is all we need. So basically, he just changes his eye direction. Now one of the things when you change eye direction is that they can kind of float. So typically when a character changes eye direction, unless he is like looking at a clock or something like that-- let's say he is doing that, he is looking at the clock--but typically when he is changing eye direction, we will cover that change in eye direction with a blink.

And that can really help to sell that motion. So I'm going to go to frame 10, and let's go ahead and add in a blink. So I'm going to select my upper lid, set keyframe at 10. Then let's go ahead and close the eyes and then open them again. And the easiest way to open them is to copy the keys at frame 10 and paste them at 22. And we can do the same for the lower lids. Set keyframe at 10, close up the eyes, and then Copy, Paste.

So now what I have is I have a blink on top of that change in eye direction. Now when that happens, it gives a much stronger sense of motion. Now one of the reasons is because when the eyes blink the audience's attention is kind of drawn to the eye, so we can see that the eye is changing direction. The other reason is that the blink kind of covers up that floatiness. So as the eyes kind of move from one side to the other, the blinks kind of almost give like a comma, or a pause, in that, so you don't see them float all the way over.

Now another thing you can do, again, is you can add in a little bit of head motion to help sell that. So I'm going to go ahead and set my keyframe at frame 1, set it again at frame 10 and then as he blinks, I'm going to dip that nose just a little bit, and again, I just want to pull him back where he was. So I'm going to copy the frame at 10 and paste that keyframe at frame 22.

So now I should have a reasonable motion. So this looks a little bit more realistic, but again, we can add a little bit more if we want. We can certainly tilt his head a little bit as he is moving, so we can certainly rotate this a little bit. So now we can actually make him rotate this way. So as he is moving, he is doing a slight head turn.

So we can copy and paste this, so now he is starting here, and then as he moves, his head adjusts just a little bit. And again, these little details will help make that character's animation sell a little bit more. So those are some of the basics of eye direction change. The basic concepts here: You can move the pupils within the eye, but they will tend to float, so typically we do that for specific applications, such as when the character is watching a fly buzzing around the room or something like that.

Generally, we tend to cover eye direction change with a blink, but again, this is a stylistic choice; you may or may not want to do this depending upon the needs of your scene.

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This video is part of

Image for Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

65 video lessons · 9892 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 22m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
    3. Character rig overview: Simple character
      6m 19s
    4. Character rig overview: Full character
      7m 30s
    5. Using other rigs
      48s
    6. Using screen drawing tools for Windows
      3m 9s
    7. Using screen drawing tools for the Mac
      2m 14s
  2. 23m 47s
    1. Creating strong poses
      3m 27s
    2. Creating custom MEL scripts to help pose characters
      4m 39s
    3. Using layers to select characters
      1m 10s
    4. Learning the basics of posing characters
      10m 7s
    5. Creating stock poses
      4m 24s
  3. 25m 11s
    1. Understanding forces and character motion
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding drag
      5m 51s
    3. Working with secondary motion
      5m 33s
    4. Bringing the character to life
      4m 21s
    5. Refining the animation
      7m 13s
  4. 39m 30s
    1. Keyframing initial poses
      4m 21s
    2. Creating the blocking pass
      7m 42s
    3. Moving holds
      5m 27s
    4. Animating weight shift
      4m 21s
    5. Animating pose to pose transitions
      7m 46s
    6. Animating a wave
      9m 53s
  5. 42m 15s
    1. Analyzing a walk
      5m 43s
    2. Setting up a character for a basic walk
      1m 22s
    3. Animating a walk: The feet
      5m 55s
    4. Animating a walk: The lower body
      8m 23s
    5. Animating a walk: Making the cycle symmetrical
      3m 10s
    6. Animating a walk: Working with the spine
      5m 59s
    7. Animating a walk: Arm motion
      7m 28s
    8. Animating a walk: The head
      4m 15s
  6. 24m 15s
    1. The importance of the passing position
      4m 52s
    2. Working with foot placement
      3m 50s
    3. Adding character to a walk: Contact position
      5m 10s
    4. Adding character to a walk: Passing position
      3m 20s
    5. Adding character to a walk: Finalizing
      7m 3s
  7. 52m 27s
    1. A run in four poses
      2m 39s
    2. Animating a run: The first pose
      4m 31s
    3. Animating a run: The second pose
      7m 17s
    4. Animating a run: Mirroring the basic poses
      10m 59s
    5. Animating a run: Hip and foot motion
      5m 12s
    6. Animating a run: The upper body
      5m 2s
    7. Animating a run: Left arm motion
      5m 31s
    8. Animating a run: Right arm motion
      4m 39s
    9. Animating a run: Cycling the animation
      6m 37s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Animating blinks
      7m 56s
    2. Animating changes in eye direction
      5m 6s
    3. Animating a head turn
      4m 35s
    4. Working with audio
      3m 38s
    5. Overview of mouth controls
      2m 44s
    6. Animating vowels
      15m 14s
    7. Animating consonants: B, D, and G
      7m 2s
    8. Animating consonants: F, M, and S
      8m 22s
    9. Animating lip sync: Assigning phonemes
      10m 43s
    10. Animating lip sync: The head
      9m 44s
    11. Animating lip sync: The body
      5m 10s
  9. 55m 55s
    1. Creating the main poses
      4m 18s
    2. Blocking poses to dialogue
      7m 1s
    3. In-between blocking pass
      3m 27s
    4. Animating moving holds
      5m 19s
    5. Creating weight
      6m 19s
    6. Adding secondary motion
      10m 0s
    7. Animating dialogue
      8m 12s
    8. Finalizing the animation
      11m 19s
  10. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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