This Maya-Extension allows to automate the most time consuming aspects of the Facial-Setup-process while offering comprehensive control over all facial regions. The foundation of our technique is a complete motion-capture-based library of facial deformations, that is able to deform any humanoid geometry. A special adaptation-process adjusts the deformation to a particular geometry which is to be animated. The individual facial movements are precisely defined at all intensities in a nonlinear fashion. Therefore the moving face exhibits a complexity and naturalness that surpasses the results of conventional animation approaches such as blendshapes/morphtargets.
The Performance Solver is a Frapper based application that allows dissolving facial motion capture data into a structured set of face clusters. This data could then serve as input for a high level animation system (e.g. AFS) as being used by animators in a CG film production environment. A particular advantage of the system is that it provides an efficient way for facial animation retargeting and therefore allows the animator to edit complex motion with minimal effort.The resulting data can be imported into any DCC software supporting the Collada file format.
Setups for character animation are very complex and labour intensive. Their creation sometimes takes several weeks or months. If you are using a setup of joints smooth-binded to a skin, the most exhausting work consists in painting weights. We are developing a Maya Plug-in that clones weights from one skin to another. This approach avoids tedious weight painting.
Various nodes have been developed to realize skin weights cloning. These nodes are also useful for different tasks, like volume morphing or cloning special facial expressions on completely different target geometries.
Moving a rigged, skinned mesh into a specific pose may cause undesired or unexpected mesh deformations. A solution would be to correct vertex positions by moving them to the desired location, thus creating a blendshape target that could be applied to the mesh for correcting undesired mesh deformations (a so-called corrective blendshape). However this is normally almost impossible to achieve interactively, because transformations of vertices of a skinned mesh in Maya are done in the bone's local coordinate system so that vertices do not move as expected.
With the Facial Animation Toolset's CBS Manager it is possible to create corrective blendshape targets by interactively moving vertex positions of a rigged, skinned mesh, and have these corrective blendshapes triggered (driven) by a specific joint (driver).