Making things move, part 6

Yesterday we showed what happens if you don’t shape the noise signal — you get a zombie character.

Today we will apply the high gain filter I talked about two days ago, so that iGor’s movement will be more purposeful. I’m still applying a noise signal to his left/right rotation as well as to his up/down rotation, but now I’m shaping each of those movements with a high gain filter. You can see the result by clicking on the image below:

Now iGor appears to be aware of, and interested in, his surroundings.

If I were simulating an actual eyeball, I would move it quite differently. An eyeball generally saccades to successive fixation points in about 20-30 milliseconds. That’s why a real human eye, filmed at 30 frames per second, appears to jump suddenly, in a single frame, from one fixation point to the next. Because iGor is a character whom the audience thinks of as a hybrid between a head and an eyeball, I needed to slow him down a bit.

2 thoughts on “Making things move, part 6”

  1. That’s really interesting that we would interpret iGor as a hybrid between a head and an eyeball. I hadn’t thought about that before, but I see what you mean. What a strange psychological phenomenon! Is that something that is well known in the animation community, or something that you just noticed?

    (I suppose it is also interesting that we refer to an eyeball as “him” and that you would suggest that his ilk have brains that other zombie eyeballs might eat, but that’s a different phenomenon, I think).

  2. No, I don’t think the “head/eyeball duality” is specifically discussed in the animation community. But I do think that every time somebody animates a shoe, or a carpet, or a mushroom, they revisit the same problem — what is the best way to create something that is believably a shoe or a carpet or a mushroom, but is also a recognizably “human” character.

    I think it’s more of an art than a science. The most important thing, I think, is to pay attention to that duality when you animate such a character. if you do it right, the audience doesn’t even think about it — they just accept that a shoe or carpet or mushroom or eyeball has a particular personality.

    I cannot claim to be a maven on eyeball zombies. I was just assuming that eyeball zombies would eat eyeball brains, on the general principle of “an eye for an eye”. 😉

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