Monday, March 17, 2008

The Eyes Have It (Deux)

Kevin writes:

The subject of eye movements is doubly important in animation because the physiology and psychology that applies to our character’s eye movements applies equally to what our actual audience is doing when they watch our animation.

In other words, understanding eye direction and eye movement tells us not only how to animate our characters, but also how to understand (and manipulate) the viewer’s visual experience. It’s two sides of the same coin.

So where do people look when they’re looking at a face? ...

...Tom Sito talks about the Triangle of Interest - a triangle formed by viewer’s gaze pattern as they scan between the eyes and the mouth ...

... [W]hen we’re ‘reading’ a face, most of the time is spent scanning the eyes. We attend to the nose and mouth much less, and other parts of the face get short shrift. Another nice example of eye scanning a photo of a human face is here.

There is soooo much vital information in the region of the eyes, yet this region has gotten relatively little attention in most animation reference works. I spent a few hours over the weekend going though my many stacks of notes from various animation talks and lectures, and I could barely find anything on animating eyes and eye movements and eye lids. Richard Williams’ The Animator’s Survival Kit gives it a single page at the very end of several hundred pages of how to animate humans. From that book you’d assume that funny walks are about 1000 times more important that good animation of the eyes. Preston Blair’s two wonderful animation books for Walter Foster (Animation and Advanced Animation, combined into Cartoon Animation) don’t explicitly touch the subject at all. Frank and Ollie’s The Illusion of Life has a rather good 7 pages or so on the subject, though much of that material relates to how to draw the eyes, or photos of kittens. Other books don’t even mention this vital subject at all ...

(Click here or above for Kevin's full post ...)


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