Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Asymmetry in facial expression, part of Character Animation: Dialogue.
Another way to add more life to your characters is to create asymmetrical poses. So, here we have a very simple, happy pose. Now this pose, however, is very symmetrical. So, if I were to say, draw a line down the center of the face here, you'll see that the left and right sides of that face are pretty much identical. Now, we can push an emotion to one side of the face or another, to give a little bit more character to the pose.
Now, if I drop the smile on one side and leave it on the other, you'll have a little bit more character in that smile, a little bit more visual interest. Now this also avoids what are called twins, which are symmetry in your character. Now, if we want we can push this and create a very asymmetrical pose. Now, this is more of a goofy smile. But again, it's not a symmetrical pose so it's a little bit more visually interesting. So, let's go back to neutral and let's dial in another pose.
In this case we're going to do, anger. Now again, we're looking at this pose and you'll see that it's very symmetrical. So, if you draw a line straight down the face, you'll see that both sides are pretty much the same. But again, we can push this right or left. So, if we change it on one side or the other, you'll get a completely different emotion. And again, you'll get more visual interest. Now, we can also get the character's body involved. So, if we want, we can tilt the head a little bit and that'll give even a little bit more asymmetry to the character and a little bit better pose.
Now, let's start off with a sad expression. And then let's again, push that a little bit more. So by, again, pushing it to one side, you're giving a character that's a little bit more pensive. We've dropped the brow just a little bit here. And we've pulled the corner of the cheek over a lot. And that gives it again, it pushes it to one side. If you notice again, the eyes are a little bit more wide open on one side than the other. And again, all of this asymmetry adds a little bit more life to the pose.
Now, if we change this a little bit more, you’d see just by changing a very subtle thing about the character, so let’s just go ahead and change that brow. And we’ve gone from pensive to maybe something a little bit more thoughtful. And again, just a slight change in a characters expression can create a completely different mood. Now, one thing I do want to point out is that, neutral is in itself an emotion. So, if we have a character here with a neutral face, that can tell you something as well.
And then if we add to that neutral face just a little bit, he can have a little bit more of an emotion. So if we raise the brow, for example, it could mean that he's had an idea or a thought. Or if you change both brows, you can see that well, you know, maybe he's starting to be angry. But again, neutral is also an emotion. So, when you're posing a character, pay attention to a symmetry in that character. If you push an emotion to one side of the face or another, it can give a whole new dynamic to the characters mood and emotion.
- Understanding the role asymmetry plays in facial expression
- Conveying basic and mixed emotions
- Planning shots
- Blocking out timing
- Reading dialogue
- Animating lip sync
- Adding blinks and eye movement