Modeling and Animating Eye Blinks


CMU Robotics Institute

Disney Research, Pittsburgh


Facial animation often falls short in conveying the nuances present in the facial dynamics of humans. In this article, we in- vestigate the subtleties of the spatial and temporal aspects of eye blinks. Conventional methods for eye blink animation gener- ally employ temporally and spatially symmetric sequences; however, naturally occurring blinks in humans show a pronounced asymmetry on both dimensions. We present an analysis of naturally occurring blinks that was performed by tracking data from high-speed video using active appearance models. Based on this analysis, we generate a set of key-frame parameters that closely match naturally occurring blinks. We compare the perceived naturalness of blinks that are animated based on real data to those created using textbook animation curves. The eye blinks are animated on two characters, a photorealistic model and a cartoon model, to determine the influence of character style. We find that the animated blinks generated from the human data model with fully closing eyelids are consistently perceived as more natural than those created using the various types of blink dynamics proposed in animation textbooks.

Additional Materials

Trutoiu, L. C., Carter, E. J., Matthews, I., and Hodgins, J. K. 2011. Modeling and animating eye blinks. ACM Transactions on Applied Perception 8, 3, August 2011.

This work was supported in part by NSF Grant 0811450 and a Microsoft Research Grant to J.K. Hodgins.