Timothy Albee, creator of the 3D-animated KAZE, GHOST WARRIOR short, has released, in conjunction with programmer Mac Reiter of Mac Reiter Creations, has released the facial animation tool developed for the project that cut his production time considerably.
Closeups and powerful performances being integral to KAZE, Albee had to find an alternative to the time-consuming way of animating facial performances using Morph Sliders. Introduced to Reiter, the meeting sparked a creative partnership. Albee created faux interface designs, listings of functionality and workflow for the tool for facial animation. Reiter took these foundations and pushed them beyond the speed and functionally of other animation tools. Using an early, "pre-pre-alpha" version of TAFA, Albee was able to achieve 55 seconds worth of facial performance, including lip-readable dialogue, in about two hours.
TA Facial Animation (TAFA) renders interactively on the fly without the need for Morph Sliders, allowing work to be done within hours. TAFA allows expert animators to increase their output 10 fold, and allows novice animators to achieve feature quality results.
TAFA features include:
* Blazingly fast realtime with more than 110 fps interaction on most "video-game-level" systems.* UV Texturing, Surface Coloring, Diffuse, Specularity, Transparency and eight fully-customizable lights. * Realtime Sub-Patching (Subdivision Surfaces).* Morph Palette lets you Puppeteer a performance in seconds that would take hours, or days, using old-fashioned Sliders. * Instant Playback. No need to build a preview. * Full support for LightWave 's Endomorph embedded morph system. * Integrates directly with LightWave through the built-in Morph Mixer and .MDD parser. * Use your animation with any 3D application that reads .MDD animation files: XSI, Maya and 3dx max (with third party plug-ins).* Intelligent Parser lets you actually set-up TAFA as you model your Morph Targets.* TAFA automatically splits Symmetrical Morphs into Left and Right halves for you. * Morph Remapper lets you use animations with characters that have different Morph Target names. * Playback & Record with or without Pre-Roll and Punch-In/Out. * Work your scene with TAFA's powerful Curve Editors, or use TAFA's ultra-powerful Exposure Sheet. * Scrub dialogue as fast as you move your mouse hear & see each frame's sound & animation. * Drag-and-drop interface for lightning-fast dialogue animation. * Unlimited animation tracks. * New technology that plays hundreds of tracks as quickly as it plays a handful. * Cut/Copy/Paste/Slide keyframes while the animation is playing. * Fully Customizable, Scalable interface remembers your three favorite layouts. * Ex/Im-port single or multiple tracks between animations. * Multiple levels of Un/Re-Do.
The free TAFA demo and tutorials will get you up to speed on creating your own feature quality facial animation in (on average) under half-an-hour. The TAFA demo only prohibits the saving and exporting of animation and scenes.
To download the TAFA demo, go to: Timothy Albee Animation (www.ta-animation.com).