Tuesday, June 27, 2006



In this third week of Dare to be Digital I will attempt to draw and then model the head of the Game character; the Customer Service Manager.

Is he going to be a smart and swift character...?

... or not so clever ;o)

The above images are from the comic album "Lucky Luke", drawn by the Belgian Maurice De BÉVÈRE (alias MORRIS) who lived from 1923-2001.

Morris & his creation Lucky Luke

The best place to start from when drawing a head is with the skull.

The division between back part [A] of the head and the facial front part [B] is 2:1

The width versus height of a head is 3.0:3.5

The division between upper head and lower head is 1:1

Let's start with two angles of the drawings I made for the Customer Service Manager. As usual with a blue pencil, which means these are still drafts and have to be agreed upon later by the team.

Customer Service Manager - front view

Customer Service Manager - side view

You migth have noticed that the guy doesn't have any eyes or mouth yet ;o)

I left them out intentionaly, since these are the parts of the face that we will animate.

For facial expressions 7 parts are of importance (read also ToonFace):
Eye brows; left and right
Eyes; left and right, lids and pupils
Mouth; middle

I have projected them on the face here.

Face with 7 essential expression elements

NOTE: The nose normally does not move noticably to express feelings or mood, therefore it is left out.

Next, we will visit each of these expression elements and see in what way the express emotion.

Starting with the eye brows, each one of them has three pivots (i.e. control points) that can be moved either upwards or downwards.

Eye brow motion, three points (left corner, middle, right corner) with vertical shifting possibilities.

Following are the eye lids, shaped like diamonds (on their side) with four corners each of which only the middle ones move, vertically.

Eye lid motion, four points (left corner, middle top, middle bottom, right corner) with vertical shifting possibilities for the middles.

In addition, the eye pupils can move freely from top to bottom, from left to right, within the eyelids. The control point here is the pupil itself.

Eye pupils have only one control point, the pupil itself. It can move in every direction.

Finally, the mouth. A diamond on its side, just like the eyelids, but with only three control points that can be moved (left corner, middle bottom, right corner). The middle top does NOT move, as it is fixated to the bone just below the nose.

The mouth with three control points. The left and right corners are free to move in any direction. The middle bottom is able to move vertically only, whereas the middle top stays fixed.

Next blog entry will dive into the different emotional expressions we are now able to show.


An excellent example of animating a 3D face in your web browser can be found at Professor Ken Perlin's homepage at the New York University (see Face Demo).

Another useful resource is Paul Ekman's website dedicated to the Human Face including his Facial Action Coding System (FACS).

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