There are so many different characters out there it will make your head spin. We enjoy finding new and unusual characters. They define life. What they bring with them and what they face every day fascinates us. These are the real characters of life. No prosthetics, no makeup. Just a face for the world to look at. This is the face we enjoy working with. A face someone is proud of, that has distinction. It carries a distinct imprint and also that aged look whether it is in years or experience. Now that’s a face!
Of course in this business, it is the project you face and do the best job you can. The tools afforded to us today give you the ability to get in close; see the eye socket structure, the corner of the lips and the lines within the lips, the scars on the face and even the wrinkles. The challenge with creating a new character is not 3D scanning the head and body, but rather the cost, quality and speed of delivery. I’ve heard some people say which two out of the three would you like, but it doesn’t have to be that way. My clients do not want to make that choice. They want it all. That is what we aim to give them – everything we can to meet their needs.
In the course of preparing for the scan, it should be realized that the hair is the hardest part to capture. Whether using lasers or structured light, it is a challenge. I find, however, that most companies do not concern themselves with this aspect as they would like to build cyberhair to react with the dynamics of the scene. Therefore, we use wigcaps to cover the hair. This will give the character a bald or hairless appearance. A major advantage of this is that it helps us develop a better ear thanks to the process. There will also be some small issues like, sideburns, beards, mustaches etc, but we do find ways to make it all work to give you something that gets you the most realistic character possible.
Facial expressions are also a source of concern regarding developing good facial performance. There are numerous choices out there and we are looking at several new ones to offer an even better product. In the meantime, we have employed a way to do it that serves most needs. However, the future is always changing, not only the way we look, but also the way we do things. This dictates the need to keep aware of what the market has that makes sense and works.
At Siggraph last month, I was watching the “Demo” of a product and the company was pushing a Siggraph special. The product sounded good and the price sounded okay until I asked what the regular price was and found out they didn’t know or didn’t have one, but I should still buy at the Siggraph special price. The second question was; if I did, can I bring the software with me or download it? That’s when I heard it hadn’t started shipping yet. This is not to say there are not other solutions, but beware of what you are buying lest your character ends up having a look of bitterness and rage.