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[LF] Your fave versatile facial emoters?

Torley Linden
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I do a lot of avatar photography with a combo of HUDs, and that can get pretty clunky. I've been looking for an all-in-one facial emoter that does all the following elegantly:

  • Closes avatar eyes (so I don't have to agonize over capturing split-second blinking).
  • Can interpolate/blend between multiple facial animations for subtle (non-cartoonish) expressions and can freeze it that way. The default facial animations are pretty exaggerated and unappealing when played "in full". I've used the old trick of right-clicking my avatar to locally freeze myself in edit mode, but that's awkward and also disables the depth of field graphical effect.
  • Locks avatar eyes in a given direction so I don't have to stare at an object to fix focus.
  • Relatively compact (or minimizable), beautiful user interface.

My prior experiences have included helpful threads like this. Any products you really like which do most, or even all of what I'm requesting? I think this would also help other photographers. Thanx so much. :)

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It seems the other link you provided says it all.

However for the eye effects you are looking for you could simply create eyes that have a "closed" looking texture or a "looking to the side", (not centered) texture... I just tried this and it works. In the texture just edit the eye it up so it will be looking to the left side or down so they are fixed looking to the right.

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@Freecilla I was unfulfilled after reading that thread because there are still opportunities to create better emoters, I just don't know where to find them yet. I've been having fun with my AnyPose, which does have effective "eye direction lock" without having to stare at a cube.

I had forgotten about the eye texture edit you mention but it's not as flexible for when I need speed. Thanks though!

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Hi, Torley, I don't know of any emoters that do what you ask, but I have a couple tips for you that might help you get the emotes and eyes you are looking for, and they both center on using Freeze Frame, instead of edit-clicking. I am going to assume you know all about freeze frame, but for those people checking it out, it's in the Snapshot Preview window, when you click the More... button. When you click FreezeFrame, your avi is locked in place, but you can still cam around it, matrix style, or zoom in and out. Particles stay in motion, and so will the sun and moon if you are in Default mode. About the only thing you can't do in FreezeFrame mode is *anything* else. No clicking windows closed, no typing, no nothing but camming and photographing. It's annoying at first but you'll get the hang of it, I promise.

Now, the way to capture a partial emote is to first use something like MystiTool, which I think features all of the standard emotes, and includes a "stop" button. What I do is I turn on an emote - usually the "open mouth" one because it's a good starting point. Then, when my avi is posed, I click FreezeFrame. Good so far, now you are frozen in space with your mouth gaping open, and the checkbox for FreezeFrame is the default button!! Position your cursor over the Stop button of MystiTool, hit the spacebar to DEselect FreezeFrame, click the Stop button, then *immediately* click FreezeFrame again. If you're fast, you may not see any difference at all. But trust me, you are now in the zone :))

The best way to proceed, at least for me, is to click off FreezeFrame with the mouse, then *immediately* slap the spacebar to turn it back on again. You will step through the anim less than one frame per click. This is sweet!!! Slowly, your mouth will begin to close. You can spin around your avi looking for that perfect shot, and then repeat the click-slap sequence to step ever so slowly as your mouth closes. You can even cross emotes, like going from a wink to a frown, though that's a little trickier it seems. But it can be done!

Which brings me to eyes wide shut. If you noticed, as you're doing this, you will discover that very often, you will catch yourself napping! Easy peasy!!

The more you use this technique, the more natural it becomes. I often use it with a dance to get a lot of motion into my avi, or to catch eyes closed, or mouth just so. You can check out my flickr page here to see examples where this has been used, as I tend to use FreezeFrame constantly.

If you find a better emoter than the average ones, I'd love to know about it!



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Corinne, thanks for taking the time to share! I like your attention to light, shading, and shadow — it helps highlight soft curves.

Are you referring to the Freeze frame (fullscreen) option in the official SL Viewer? Or another viewer? I haven't really used that feature in ages, but I just tried it and it gets disabled as soon as I try to move my camera. (As I recall from way back, it takes a pixelated, distorted preview of what you see and is not well understood, so maybe I'm missing something!)

Being able to do a "matrix style" thing would be helpful!

[uPDATE] Oh, I see! After that distorted preview fades away, the scene is frozen. Cool... I'll have to devise uses for this. ^_^

Another thing I've been doing more is using FRAPS to capture in lossless mode, since it's essentially taking multiple snapshots each second, which can be brutal on hard drive space at higher resolutions, but is useful for capturing partial emotes. I then load the clip into Sony Vegas, my video editor, and export the desired section as a sequence of still PNG images.

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Hi Torley. Thanks for the kind words :) As you discovered, yes I'm talking about the Freeze frame (fullscreen) option that I think is in *all* browsers. I've never had it disable, but when you stop camming and render a pic, it *will* put it on your screen. If your snapshot ratio is not 1:1 with your window ratio, it will be distorted and unpleasant to look at. You (I) have to move the camera to clear the rendered image. (I also make sure auto-refresh is turned off, just so I'm not constantly looking at a rendered image).

I like the idea of using FRAPS, but with quick click-spacebar taps, you really don't need it if all you want to do is capture things like emotes mid-stream. I've used Vegas in the past, but now use FCP since I have a Mac.

Here's what would be great if LL could incorporate in future versions... the ability to communicate and close windows when in freeze frame mode; a momentary switch in addition to an on/off switch for freeze frame mode; and super important for photography, the ability to lock your eyes on a fixed point, as you can do with the Phoenix browser (Phoenix prefs/Shields/Broadcast camera focus point on-off). I'll happily expound endlessly on why these things, especially eye locking, are important, if you like.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Corinne, I've noticed some screen capture apps outside of SL (like Evernote and Jing) freeze the screen when you activate a shortcut. This reminded me of SL's freeze frame, and what you suggest would be useful there — I've had enough problems with the built-in snapshot tools to where I don't use them outside of sending postcards, but for your workflow, I see how that it'd handy.

And if I'm understanding you, YEAHHHH "lock your eyes on a fixed point" (without having to manually focus on an object?) would be da bomb, as well as altogether disabling/freezing eye movement. I know that blinking and twitching is meant to impart some organic, lively behavior to avatars, but it makes photography harder. I had a group shot with no less than a dozen avatars the other day, and it was tough to catch them all with eyes wide open. Altho, I thought there was a certain composure in expression in some of the blink-included shots. (This was one example where setting FRAPS to capture a pic every second automatically until I stopped it otherwise, came in ULTRA-handy. I've been doing more of that for time reasons, instead of rendering image sequences from a movie clip.)

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" I've had enough problems with the built-in snapshot tools"

I hear you know some people at LL - maybe you could get them to fix it  ;)


"And if I'm understanding you, YEAHHHH "lock your eyes on a fixed point" (without having to manually focus on an object?) would be da bomb, as well as altogether disabling/freezing eye movement. "

Pretty close. The way it works is you (or the subject) alt-click on a prim with normal eye movement enabled. I think with all viewers at this point, the eyes will track that and stay fixed on that prim unless the something else (HUD, friend, etc) gets clicked, and then the eyes wander again.

When you do the alt-click thing, and then turn off normal eye movement (which can be done in the Phoenix family of viewers), the eyes stay fixed on that prim no matter what one touches, types, clicks, etc. Eyes will still blink (which is good), but if the gazer prim is moved around, the eyes will track it! Both the PhotoLife photo studio and the new version of the LumiPro lighting HUD incorporate a remote-controlled gazer prim for just such a capability.

I also like the idea of a sequential capture tool like FRAPS. I don't think it would work with super high resolution pics, as those can take 30 secs or more just to calculate, but great for catching the action!

OK, you must be getting bored of this, but thanks for listening :)


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