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VWN Product Reviews: Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists

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Site Shop > Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists




Facial expressions, is exactly what you would expect. It is predominately a huge collection of physical human faces, photographed in a huge variety of expressions and emotional states.

The author has not missed a trick, and each emotional state or simple expression is shown by a wide variety of ages from young adult through to honoured elder. It is shown by both genders across that age range, and also by a variety of head sizes, shapes and differing ethnicities for each gender, giving enough material to be able to perhaps predict computationally how a given head structure will depict a given expression.

Additional photos focus on people wearing hats and couples kissing, while illustrations show skull anatomy and facial musculature, greatly aiding occlusion techniques, and those trying to bone a realistic human face for 3D animation.

At the end of the book is an attempt at creating pictographic visemes. That is to say, a kind series of photos of lips pronouncing each and every one of the phonemes used in human speech.

All of the photos are clear and usable, and as they are head-shots only, are expanded in the book, to show the fine detail. Additionally, all photos are taken from multiple angles, giving the full 3D effect of the head, and as the side shots were taken at the same time as those front on, the data is suitable as input into 3D photo rendering applications to generate a full model.

At the very end of the book, beyond the visemes, is a section on sequential data, showing some photos on the transition from one emotional state to another ? how the face looks when caught in between two emotional states. For anyone working on animation sequence files, especially animation blending, this sort of data is a gold mine.

The only real problem is that many of the photos are kind of lampooning the expressions ? over-exaggerating how they would naturally be presented, to get the point across. Thankfully, not all of them do this, and there is still enough data to make the book very useful. The exaggerations also have their uses of course, making it painstakingly clear which muscle groups are driving the emotional states, and as such are themselves an asset to those boning models for animation.


Facial Expressions Babies to Teens: A Visual Reference for Artists

A second book also exists, which is the same as the first, except it covers children and teenagers, whereas the first one does not. Exactly the same set up and content inside, just that it covers babies, tots, toddlers, pre during and post puberty individuals of both genders and a range of ethnicities. Invaluable itself, for that highly change-frought age-range.


 

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