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This tutorial shows how to animate faces in 3DSMax 4.x.
Animating faces in Morrowind is actually quite easy, all things considered. This little tutorial doesn't cover the complexities of 3DS Max, just the necessary steps to animating a face. I use Max 4.2, but this should work pretty much the same way in any version.
Build your face! Itís not in the scope this tutorial to explain how to do that. Make sure to build a basic inside to the mouth and teeth. Also put enough detail into the eyelids to allow for blinking. The head shouldn't need ears, since these come with the hairpieces. Make sure itís completely finished and mapped before moving on. Try it out in-game first to make sure you like it.
Note: Youíll have to experiment with the size and shape of your first head, but I can help you out with where the pivotpoint should be. [Affect Pivot Only-Center to Object], then position the model at 0x, 0.715y, 52.122z. This centerpoint has worked fine for me so far. Make sure you [Affect Pivot Only-Align to World].
The same holds true for hair models, by the way. Just position them on your head and set their pivotpoint to the same coordinates.
Make two clones of your COMPLETED head. Name one of them something having to do with blinking. Give the other a name like ďtalkingĒ. Edit the mesh of each of these models so that one has its eyes closed in a blink and the other has its mouth open as if talking. This is all the modeling thatís necessary. They should look something like this:
Now select your original head and apply a [Morpher] modifier to it. Load the talking head mesh into a morph channel, and the blinking head into another.
Now for the animation. The total animation should be set to 30 frames in length at 15 frames per second. The talk animation is going to run from frame 0 to 20, and the blink from 21 to 30. The eyes will be closed by frame 25 and open again by frame 30.
Adjust the morph sliders so that the talking morph is 0% at frame 0 and 100% at frame 20. Make sure it goes immediately back to 0% at frame 21 and STAYS that way for the rest of the animation.
Using the [Track View], youíll need to adjust the [in] and [out] settings on each keyframe so that the mouth animation tension is a straight line from frame 0 to 20, then broken leaving frame 20.
Now set the blinking morph slider so that the eyes donít move until frame 20, then 100% closed at frame 25, and completely open again on frame 30.
To get the blink timing exactly like the Bethesda models, the [in] and [out] settings for the keyframes is a bit more complicated. Just set them up so that the eyes are closed as long as possible. i.e.: frame 20 in=broken, out=fast ramp. Frame 25 in=slow ramp, out=slow ramp. Frame 30 in=fast ramp, out=broken.
It sounds more complicated than it is, and if you donít understand the whole keyframe tension thing it wonít make a huge difference as long as the mouth opens from frames 0-20, snaps closed on frame 21, and the eyes close from 21-25 and open again from 26-30.
Open up the [Track View] and add a [Note Track] to the animated head model. Youíll need to add the following notes. The note should say exactly whatís in red below:
Frame 0 Talk: Start The mouth should be closed.
Frame 20 Talk: Stop The mouth should be fully open.
Frame 21 Blink: Start The eyes should be open and the mouth CLOSED.
Frame 30 Blink: Sto p The eyes should be open again.
Thatís pretty much it! Now just select the animated head and [Export Selected] into Morrowind. Donít export the two morph target heads, just the fully animated one.
Set up your new head as a body part in the editor and have fun!
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