Neutral Frames

Brian Genna -

Neutral Frames in Faceware Analyzer are frames from the tracked video that are chosen by the user as being "neutral," lacking any facial motion or discernible expression. They can be thought of as the default position of the face. Using the Neutral Frame feature in Analyzer is beneficial in two specific ways:

  1. When Autotracking in Analyzer, the inclusion of a user-specified neutral frame tells the software where the face is and where the important features are. While Autotrack generally does a good job of recognizing the face on its own, there are occasionally faces that are more difficult for it to recognize and track. Including a neutral frame helps to correct this and increase the fidelity of the tracking results.
  2. The user can include the neutral frame when parameterizing a finished job in Analyzer. This data gets used in the calculations that convert the tracking to a .fwr performance file used in Retargeter. When Autosolving in Retargeter, a .fwr that includes this data will provide for a more accurate and higher quality initial animation.

 

 

What is "Neutral"?

The term "Neutral" in this case refers to a pose where the actor is completely relaxed and shows no tension or expression on their face. You could almost think of it like a Facial Rig in it's default state, when all of the controls are turned off. The actor should be relaxed with their mouth closed, show no emotion on their face, and be looking straight forward.  This pose will be matched up with your facial rig's default pose so it's important to get as close to neutral as possible.  This may require shooting a short video of the actor in a relaxed state so you can grab a suitable Neutral Frame.

 

How to Create a Neutral Frame

1.) Selecting a Neutral Frame

With your job open in Analyzer, scrub through the timeline to find a frame that you feel is Neutral as denoted by the description above. Below are a few examples of Neutral Frames.

laura_HC_neutral.jpgandre_HC_Neutral.jpglaura_static_Neutral.jpg
 
2.) Marking up the frame
 Mark up the frame by moving the landmarks into the appropriate positions for each present face group. Try to be as accurate as possible, but note that the Autotrack results may not look exactly the same as your marked up frame. This is to be expected. Also note that every landmark must be marked for you to be able to export the frame. A landmark is marked automatically when you move it (note the color change) or can be marked manually by selecting all of the landmarks and hitting CTRL+T.
 
3.) Export the Neutral Frame
When you have marked up the frame, go to the File menu and select "Export Neutral Frame." You will then be given the option to name the frame and save it wherever you choose. This will create a .fwlf file that contains the image and the appropriate data. Note that Analyzer will look to export whatever frame is currently on the timeline.
 
*Note: Only one Neutral Frame needs to be chosen per actor. It can be used as many times as necessary as long as the shooting conditions are the same.
 
export_neutral.jpg
 
  

Autotracking with a Neutral Frame

1.) Open the Autotrack dialog as normal.

2.) Using the "Browse" button next to the Neutral Frame field, find and select the Neutral Frame file appropriate to your actor.

3.) Once your appropriate tracker is selected, hit the "Auto Track" button as normal.

FTI_WEB_SPT_AN_AutoTrack.png

 

Parameterizing with a Neutral Frame

1.) Once your job is tracked, select the option to Parameterize (F12) as normal.

2.) Add the location of your Neutral Frame to the "Current Neutral Frame" field manually or by using the "Browse for Neutral Frame" button.

3.) Once all of your settings are correct, hit "OK" to parameterize as normal.

*Note: Nothing is different on the Retargeter side if using a Neutral Frame. Autosolve the animation as you normally would.

Parameterization_2014-01-03_14-11-41.jpg

 

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