One of the most important parts of animating a character is definitely the facial animation.
It is the facial animation that conveys most of your characters expressions to your audience.
That being said, there are many techniques available
to create facial animation inside of 3ds max.
What I will show you today is probably one of the most widely
used technique for facial animation; Morph Targets.
So what is Morph Target based animation?
Here we can see a setup in the scene,
where we have created numerous copies of a head.
By taking this head object and using the shift key
to make a copy to apply deformations to.
We will modify the vertices of this copy to create deformations.
So here are three deformations we have created.
We have the mouth opening, we have the motion of the eye brows
one is going down while the other is going up
and we have the closed eyes or blink if you prefer.
The very cool thing about morph targets
is that you can combine all of these morph targets simultaneously.
So I will apply Di-O-Matic’s alternative to the Morpher modifier,
click “load multiple” and I will load these three objects and their targets.
Now we can simply select these three objects in the scene and delete them.
We don’t need these objects anymore
because they have been loaded in the Morph-O-Matic modifier.
So if we look at the channel list of Morph-O-Matic,
the first one here is the jaw opening,
when it is at zero it is not being used and when set to 100
the mouth will be open to the maximum of the pre-established morph target.
Following the same rule, we also have the eye brows and the blink.
As I have said before Morph targets allow you to combine various targets simultaneously.
So we can trigger the mouth opening while we trigger the blink.
Another nice feature is negative morphing.
So with the eye brows morph target for example,
we can go to 100 and trigger our original morph target,
and by modifying the minimum limit to -100,
we can bring this specific morph target to -100 and have the exact opposite of our original target.
This allows us to easily animate both of the eye brows of our character
while also controlling the jaw opening and the blinking.
So with just a few key morph target “poses”
you will have the tools necessary to create the facial animation
you want to achieve for your characters.
Now some very advanced characters have a setup
of well over 100 morph targets,
Where subtle deformations are being created.
Morph-O-Matic is the award winning Morphing plugin for 3ds max developed by Di-O-Matic
and has served countless cg character animations over the years,
as it offers numerous advantages over what is available in the built-in Morpher modifier.
Feel free to download the trial version and
give it a try at www.di-o-matic.com