This intensive project will be a chance for you to really study and observe genuine facial expressions under pressure. It will be quite tiring, but the more you put into the project, the more you will pick up to apply to your 3D and future work. Rotoscoping is harder than it looks, but it is very good for focusing your mind onto really seeing what you are working on. Every weird crinkle of the eye, every tightening of the lips, every twitch, every flicker.
The focus of this exercise is on AUTHENTIC and potentially SUBTLE emotion. You will find plenty of books and tutorials for exaggerated animation, but very little on how to reel it back and give a more realistic look. A perception and ability to render more subtle body language will give you a head start in CG and VFX work, and this project is designed to help you build up this difficult skill. As rotoscoping is tiring and time consuming, to maximise your learning from this exercise, we will focus on facial expression.
This is also an exercise that has been requested by Games Companies. While you are presenting as 3D artists, a measure of 2D skills and the ability to scratch out work over the top of live action or 3D generated animation will give your CV an edge.
- Record your own face on your phone, talking about something that makes you happy, sad, angry or disgusted or even afraid. Ideally, talk to someone – as if it was a conversation. Let them make the recording while you concentrate on your subject.
- Talk about something that genuinely makes you feel your chosen emotion. This isn’t about acting or exaggerating, talk normally, this project will be about seeing the hidden signs. For example, most of us – when talking about something that genuinely makes us sad in front of other people, will try and hide our feelings. We mask, we hold back, we displace.
- Rotoscope 5-10 seconds from your footage.