Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video Face tracking: Detailed features, part of After Effects: 2015 Creative Cloud Updates.
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- The Face Tracker can do a lot more than just generate a mask that follows the outlines of someone's face, it can also perform all the measurements that Character Animator performed, in terms of where the mouth is, where the eyes are, what the nose is up to, et cetera. So, let's demonstrate that. I'll start my footage again, select my Ellipse tool again, just do a Garbage Mask around her face, and this time, change the Face Tracking selection to Detailed Features, not just Outline Only. Now, when I start to track, you'll see that not only does the mask shape snap to her face we have all these additional points where her chin is, where her jaw hinges, her eyelashes, her eyelids, her nostrils, the mouth, et cetera.
I'm gonna go ahead and let After Effects calculate this for a few seconds, and then, when it's done, I'm gonna show you what you can do with it . I've tracked four seconds of her face which is quite enough for what I wanna do here. I'll set my out point to 3:29 and press End to end my work area. You'll notice that the Face Tracker has resulted in a special effect being applied called Face Track Points and this gives you all of these measurements for those little cross-hairs, those little effects points are on her face. Again, these were automatically detected, you did not need to place these ahead of time.
So, let's do something with this data, for example, I notice she starts off with a very neutral expression and goes to a broad smile at the end. That can be roughly measured in terms of how wide her mouth is. Narrow for the frown, broad for the smile. Let's say I wanted to create some sort of heads-up display or color change or some other effect, based on that movement in her face. What I would do is I would add Effect, Expresion Controls, Slider, just to hold the results of this information.
Expose her mouth data, there's her Mouth Left and Mouth Right and write an expression for my new slider. I'll hold Option on Mac, Alt on Windows. Click on the slider to expose the expression for this slider and start typing in, I want Facewidth=length of, open parantheses, and use the pick whip to select the right corner of her mouth minus the left corner of her mouth.
Close parantheses. I'll press Enter for now and here's the results. At the very start, the width between those two corners is about 136 pixels and then, as I go on in time, I see she gets to be around 185 or so. I can also watch the value down here which gives me more real time update than the Effects Control Panel. So, 186 or so seems to be a broad smile, 136 seems to be a frown. So, let's go ahead and convert that to a range of 0 - 100, just so I can convert that to some nice display, such as percentage happiness.
So, I'll start my expression, ; to end that first line. Press Return to start a second line. I wanna do a little bit of math on this, in a linear fashion. Taking the Facewidth value, and with inputs between 135 and, say, 185, I wanna get an output between 0% and 100% and I'll press Enter again. And, now you see the slider value has changed to very low values for her frown, to very high values for her fully smiling face.
I kinda clip it out here, let's give her a little bit of headroom on maximum happiness, go to 190, there we go. Now, that I have that expression, I can have it control other things. If I wanted to see exactly what's going on in the Comp panel I might create a blank text layer, something fairly big here, black text, go up to my text and reveal the Source Text. Again, Option or Alt click to write an expression and say that should follow my slider.
I'll press Enter on the numeric keypad to accept that, F2 to deselect all my layers and now you can see my readout from a very low value for a frown to a high value for a smile. That just gives you one little idea of what you can do with all this Face Track data. And, by the way, you could also round trip from After Effects back into Adobe Character Animator. I'll select the mask, go back to the Tracker, here's my detailed option. I wanna pick that rest pose, just like what I had inside Character Animator, maybe here with a frown, Set Rest Pose.
And then, I will Extract & Copy the Face Measurements. Doing so, pastes on the clipboard, data that I can copy and paste back into Adobe Character Animator. That means you don't have to live perform your character, you can have another actor somewhere else do the performance and then later paste that performance into Character Animator. You don't need to rely on your webcam. You'll notice that an additional effect has been applied to this footage as well, giving me additional face measurements, such as, how much her face rotates, from that at-rest position, how much her face gets larger or smaller as she approaches the camera or goes away.
Another thing such as what the eye is up to and even a version of that mouth that we just created on our own using expressions. So Face Tracker is quite a cool tool and I'm looking forward to using it to do things such as driving, even text or logo animations just to give things more life, and to make my animations seem more real and more human.
Check back often for updates. New chapters will be added each time Adobe releases a major After Effects update.
- Preview options
- Editing a project without stopping preview playback
- Navigating the CC Libraries workflows
- Moving animations from Adobe Character Animator to After Effects
- Using expressions to dynamically measure facial dimensions
- Setting up layers in CINEWARE and CINEMA 4D Lite