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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
From earliest infancy, humans not only recognize faces: They recognize when something's wrong with the image of a face. If you're a 3D animator, that means literally everyone's a critic, even babies. With no room for error, facial animation is one of the most difficult tasks you'll ever face. Fortunately, you now have an expert consultant for all your facial animation projects: Jason Osipa, in Stop Staring, Second Edition.
There are no Ferraris or alien landscapes in this book: just faces. Osipa begins by deconstructing speech from a visual point of view, showing which facial movements matter, which you can ignore, and how to do lip syncing that works. Next, he brings the same insight to the eyes, brows, and eyelids: the parts of the face most important to communicating emotion.
Osipa notes that many animators spend too much time on brows, not enough on eyes. And he uses that insight to introduce the crucial concept of landmarking: it's the area surrounding what you think you're looking at that delivers the cues people rely on most. Failure to landmark is why so many beginning animators' smiles look fake, tortured, creepy, wrong.
Osipa spends an entire section of his book on the mouth -- introducing more sophisticated lip-sync techniques; then showing how to use "visimes" and "mouth keys" to achieve even greater realism. He returns to eyes and brows with the same depth, then walks through the rest of the process: connecting features, skeletal setup, weighting, rigging, interfaces, and taking your shot through production. There's even a chapter on leading-edge squash-and-stretch deformation. While Osipa's concepts are tool-independent, his examples are built in Maya (and Alias provides the Maya Learning Edition on CD-ROM so you can follow along).
Jason Schleifer, who animated Gollum, endorsed this book. You will, too. Bill Camarda, from the May 2007 Read Only