Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Industry Giants - Part 2 - David Schaub (expressive eye animation)

Part One Here

The second session was with David Schaub, animation director at Sony Pictures Imageworks and he spoke mostly in his work with "Surf's Up" and "I Am Legend."

He was teaching on animating expressive eyes which I've been very interested in and he started with some interesting science.

He showed images of brain development in embryos and how the eye forms as an outcrop of the brain. He shared the perspective of Richard Williams and how the "soul is revealed with the eyes." He also pointed out how even with animals, eye contact is always automatic. Even if something else is happening (e.g., shaking hands, fighting, etc.) eye contact is maintained.

Also, he pointed out a study that states 93% of communication is non-verbal. He breaks down that 93% as 38% voice quality (tone, pitch, etc.) and 55% body language (and he believes 35% is eyes and 20% is body cues).

He split out eye animation into several parts...

1. Shapes: directional and emotional
2. Movement: vergence, vestibular, pursuit & tracking and saccadic
3. Blinks (be purposeful: 80% top lid, 20% bottom)

Other points:
- eyes lead the action
- blinks synced w/ eye movement
- head follow the eyes

Eye Cues (this is TOO cool): NLP
The basic break down is: people look to their left for recall. They look right for construction.

For recall (left), up is visual, middle is audio and down is inner dialog. So when you're trying to remember a painting, you'd look up and to the left.

For construction (right), up is visual, middle is audio and down is kinesthetic (emotion, textile). So when trying to imagine how a song would sound with a different instrument, you'd look right and neither up nor down.

It was an amazing session and probably my favorite of the conference.

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