About face

So it looks like the animated faces thing is proving popular. That’s a bit of a shame because I feel like I have to carry on doing it and it means I now have to animate everything three times – first doing the actual stop motion with blank heads, then going through frame-by-frame putting a static face in exactly the right position on screen for each character, then again, frame-by-frame, picking the right mouth shapes for everyone.

The last couple of films were really just experiments to see what I could do with the technology. Quite a lot, it turns out. I’m learning as I go too – I managed to get away with only animating three mouths for the crowd of thiry five minifigs in Changes (for 6 Music) just by thinking on my feet and organising everything sensibly in After Effects. Then I ruined it all by putting a reflective table in the boardroom scene and ended up having to spend a day masking, blurring and scaling the powerpoint slideshow so it looked right.

All I need to do now is get better at drawing so that the mouth shapes I make all look like they belong to the same person. It takes a lot of trial and error just to do the simple things I’ve done so far. One day, I hope to have a library of sad faces, happy faces, frightened faces, angry faces, and so on.