Titmouse Demos Facinator

Now that Titmouse’s new series Motorcity (mentioned in the previous post) is about to air, they’re sharing some behind-the-scenes magic.

In this video, Supervisor Animator, Allison Craig shows off the Facinator tool that I built for Titmouse:

Since the folks at Titmouse rendered their 2-D characters from every conceivable angle, they asked me to build a tool to rotate the detailed 2-D heads in 3-D space. You can see this in action starting at the 1 minute mark.

The 1st episode of Motorcity airs this Monday, but you can see it early (for free) on iTunes.

Source: Cold Hard Flash

Check out this awesome behind scenes video at Titmouse from G4TV.

If you’ve got quick eyes, you can also spot Facinator in action.

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  1. Bobbo says:

    Will this plug-in be available to the public by any chance? And if so, what would the eta be on this bad boy?

  2. Justin says:

    Sorry, Bobbo. Facinator was commissioned directly by Titmouse and tailored specifically to their workflow. No public release on this one.

  3. C.S. Murphy says:

    You have to make a tool like this for the public. This is an essential tool especially for the independent animator.

  4. Justin says:

    Noted. Thanks for the comment, C.S!


  6. Chemsem says:

    I can understand how the plug in is a proprietary tool for Titmouse. What I would like to know is how they rig their characters or at least how they go about creating these character heads. Its tough to find any character rigging tutorials that handle complex characters like titmouse. Any chance of throwing a poor dog a bone?

  7. Justin says:

    Hi Chemsem,
    I’m not at liberty to share any of Titmouse’s techniques. You might ask them if they’ll put out a tutorial. They’re nice folks!

  8. Chemsem says:

    Hey Justin! I wasn’t aware that you just provided a service for Titmouse. I thought you worked for them in their facility. You provided an outstanding service. I can only imagine what it must be like to program the way you do. Thank you for sharing some wonderful info. I will see if Titmouse responds. I would love to work for them myself maybe someday. They look like a talented group of folks.

  9. Justin says:

    Thanks, Chemsem! I don’t blame you for wanting to work there. They do great work! Good luck to you!

  10. Chris says:

    I was talking to one of the animators at comic-con and they said the use Facinator and do regular 2D animation for the bodies. When I say regular 2D I mean they don’t use puppets, or cutout body parts. Just the head is pre-made and symbolized I guess you can say. That’s what he told me and I wasn’t really able to get more details than that. I’m guessing because that’s about all there is to it.

  11. Chemsem says:

    Hey Chris!
    I watched the videos and the other behind the scenes items. I believe you are right. Still, the traditional animation part almost looks like they used puppets even if it is hand drawn. Did your contact mention if its all done in Flash? I understand they do stuff for post production in other programs, but I wonder how much is primarily done in Flash?

  12. Justin says:

    That’s exactly right, Chris. It’s largely to be able to quick manipulate heads that are already drawn.

    Chemsem, The animation is primarily done in Flash. Titmouse then uses Photoshop and After Effects to put all of the post-production shininess on it.

  13. Chemsem says:

    That shininess is da bomb

  14. Justin says:

    Absolutely, Chemsem. They do a great job!

  15. BC Rice says:

    I’m not entirely certain what this actually does that an animator on their own can’t achieve either via symbol swapping or by simply nesting all of the heads inside a single head symbol.

    What I’m more interested in is what their final calculation was for angles. The average sitcom-based show can get away with a front, 1/4 and side head symbol. The next level would probably be assets for each Front, Front Up, Front Down, 1/4, 1/4 Up, 1/4 Down, 1/3, 1/3 Up, 1/3 Down, Side, 1/4 Rear, 1/3 Rear and Rear.

    Did they break it down into 5ths? Or even lower?

    That’s something I’d like to know that I wouldn’t think would be particularly proprietary.

  16. Justin says:

    Hi BC,

    It is merely symbol-swapping, but in a fast, intuitive way.

    The heads that Titmouse built were tweened, so they covered 360 degrees in some cases. I built Facinator to be configurable, so they could map the different angles any way they wanted.

  17. Wow says:

    I sure hope TitMouse blew your tits off with money, because that plug-in could make some serious cash out on the market. Congrats on such a killer program.

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