3D-io rely on Morph-O-Matic and Voice-O-Matic to create Perry Rhodan, Immortals of Terra

3D-io rely on Morph-O-Matic and Voice-O-Matic to create Perry Rhodan, Immortals of Terra

3D-io rely on Morph-O-Matic and Voice-O-Matic to create Perry Rhodan, Immortals of Terra

 Di-O-Matic.com > Press > Reviews > Facial Studio (3ds max Edition) v2.0

 
Facial Studio (3ds max Edition) v2.0

3D World MAGAZINE Ė September 2008
 

Itís evolution rather than revolution Ė but Di-O-Maticís first update to its 3ds Max facial creation and animation plug-in improves an already useful tool.

 

Facial Studio is a head primitive, a custom Morpher modifier for facial animation, and a set of tailored material-editing tools, all in one. Last reviewed in issue 25, it has since been made available as a standalone package (exporting FBX files to major 3D applications) and has most recently been updated in its original incarnation as a 3ds max plug-in.

Initially, the latest release does not appear too dissimilar from the original. A quick click and drag creates a default (and at first glance, quite unnatural-looking) head shape, which you can then adjust to suit your needs. Manipulation is performed via dozens, if not hundreds, of sliders that control everything from forehead shape to chin curvature.

This process takes a bit of time to work through but, compared to starting from scratch, itís a breeze. Alternatively, if youíre not actually too fussy about how your head looks, the random button makes a new head in a fraction of a second.

Poses and animation targets can be created via even more sliders offering control over everything you could want, from standard phoneme targets and emotional expressions all the way up to fine-tuning the roll of the lower lip and contraction of the epicranius. Itís an extensive and easy-to-use toolset, although learning various Latin names for facial muscles may take some doing.

The head geometry is available in three resolution (6000, 8000 and 10 000 triangles) which can be swapped between at any point in the proceedings. If you want a head with a resolution that is above or below this level, the help file suggests using Maxís default SkinWrap modifier to bind your preferred mesh to the animated Facial Studio one. Itís a good solution, but we would have seen a wider range of poly counts to cater for lower-poly projects and background characters.

The heads UVs are all arranged to the same template, so swapping and adjusting textures is easy. However there is some texture stretching and the top of the head has a UV collision issue, which means you need to spend some time creating hair to cover it up.

A dozen or so textures supplied cover various ethnicities but, through the use of a new Mix map, a wider range of facial hairs, wrinkles and blemishes can be overlaid on these textures to create further variation. A new Subsurface Scattering shader furthers the skin simulation, too.

One size fits all?

Off-the shelf head solutions arenít going to work for everyone every time and, for artist working in real-time 3D, Facial studio 2.0 is not going to come as a godsend, due to its high poly defaults and lack of bone-driven animation system. However, it is still useful as a reference point and pre-production tool.

But for pre-rendered artist working to a tight deadline, version 2.0 is well worth the investment. The time it can save in creating and animating assets is impressive, and with a direct link to lyp-synch tools like Magpie Pro and Voice-O-Matic, schedules can be compressed enormously.

 

MAIN FEATURES

  • Multi-resolution head geometry
  • Adjustable head shape
  • Wide range of animation controls
  • New skin shader and mix maps
  • Easy-to use interface
  • Plugs in to other lip-synch tools
  • Automated eye follow
     

PROS

  • Fast head creation
  • Extensive animation tools
  • Easy to customise
     
CONS
  • Multiplied morphs can intersect
  • Some UV stretching
  • No normal maps supplied
     
VERDICT :  9 /10
  • Range of Features : 9/10
  • Value for Money : 8/10

 

 
Written by Chris Ollis, 3Dworld, February 2008 Issue
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