Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Master Pixar-style facial animation for feature films

The Gnomon Workshop has released Facial Animation for Feature Animated Films, an exclusive masterclass recorded by veteran Pixar animator Victor Navone.

An essential guide to facial animation for aspiring feature film artists
Over the course of three hours of video training, Navone reveals how to animate a shot from start to finish, using an animation style similar to that of Pixar itself.

He begins with warm-up expression exercises, introducing the Long Winter Studios model used during the tutorial, and exploring how to interpret 2D drawings of a character as 3D expressions.

Navone then discusses how to animate to dialogue, planning the shot and blocking out the animation of the character’s face and body, before discussing how to animate the eyes, brows and lips.

The training concludes by looking at the final touches necessary to polish a facial performance to the level of quality required for a feature film.

Throughout the masterclass, Navone provides his own workflow tips and guidelines, and discusses key issues like the concept of “appeal”, and how to apply it to your own animation work.

The training also covers the importance of asymmetry, how to use lines of action to develop rhythm in animations, how far to exaggerate movements, and how to ‘cheat’ expressions for a specific camera angle.

The videos were recorded in Maya, but the principles discussed are applicable to any animation software.

About the artist
Victor Navone is an animator at Pixar, where he has worked on movies from Monsters, Inc. to Onward. He was supervising animator on Inside Out, and received a VES Award for his work on WALL-E.

Self-taught as an animator, he previously worked as a concept designer and 3D artist in the games industry before one of his early animation tests, Alien Song, went viral online, catching the attention of Pixar.

Pricing and availability
Facial Animation for Feature Animated Films is available via an online subscription to The Gnomon Workshop. Subscriptions cost $49/month or $490/year. You can try the training for free.

Read more about Facial Animation for Feature Animated Films on The Gnomon Workshop website

Full disclosure: CG Channel is owned by Gnomon.