After looking at several recommendations on the best sources for a good book on rigging and animation characters' faces (which will obviously be very important for our Lunatics project), I came across this one, "Stop Staring: Facial Modeling and Animation Done Right". The book lives up to the expectations of careful analysis of facial expression and movement; provides guidance applicable to a wide range of character designs; and is largely neutral as to the 3d application used.
In fact, I'm pretty sure the author is using Maya, based on some of the illustrations, but the techniques are workable in Blender, and the book is focused more on the technique and style issues.
Of course, that means this is an advanced book, and it offers essentially no guidance on how to actually implement the techniques in your 3d animation application. Still, this means a lot more material can be covered, and it doesn't really matter what platform you are using.
The book develops a "shape-key" based rig for expressing a wide range of emotions, and applies the concepts to a range of different faces, ranging from photo-realistic to highly stylized, to a cube with a face modeled onto it.
The book is very useful for creating realistic emotional expression and it also debunks a lot of the misconceptions that people have about facial expressions. This is very useful, because people often try to apply stylized expressions to more realistic faces -- usually to incredibly creepy effect.
So, if you're a user of Blender (or any other 3D animation tool) and you're looking for ways to improve the expressiveness of your characters, this book is probably for you. But it is pretty specialized.
||Stop Staring: Facial Modeling and Animation Done Right, 3rd Edition
|Over all score