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The interesting thing about the eyes?

Discussion in 'Film & Film Production' started by T.j. Prinssen, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. Mike, in the 3d class you said you studied (the) eyes a lot and there was something interesting about them...
    but you never got around to explaining what you discovered because you were in the beginning of the presentation still.

    What was it?

    Always looking for shortcuts so I'd love to know, it's been bugging me ever since (and now I actually kinda have a need to know!)
  2. Hmm.. I can think of several things; not sure what I was referring to, but one of the major ones is that we can perceive micromotions of eye movement - tiny not-imperceptible fluctuations in the pupil dilation and focal orientation of a living person's eye. An actual eye is a flurry of constant adjustment and motion. In CG, we tend to obsess with the layers and depth of the eyeball construct, which is obviously crucial, but no shortage of the "dead eye" thing is tied to the fact that we don't animate this constant barrage of micromotions in our models. If you've ever seen an actual human eyeball from a dead person; they're lifeless, literally. There's some argument to be made about our possible ability to sense lifeforce; we know many animals in nature seem to be able to see this in ways beyond obvious visual cues, but despite seeming sort of mystical and spooky, it would appear a camera can capture it, which sort of blows the whole theory apart. So it's a good idea to start with the micromotions, which I STILL have yet to see in any animations. We've generally gotten better with the coarse eye movement and blinking and shit, but it's still just a dead-eyed world of zombie CG people trapped in the uncanny valley.
  3. There's a tiny spot in our retina that has a "high res" view of the world at any given time. The rest is more or less blind. The eye overcomes this by constantly darting around with tiny motions called saccades to "paint" the important parts of the scene. I wonder if it would help with the realism of those animations if they explicitly modeled this, or some approximation to it. For example, by asking the question: what are the important parts of this character's (off camera) view, and how would his/her eye realistically move around to capture them?
    T.j. Prinssen likes this.
  4. Knew of the phenomenon just from my own high-res filming of eyes, but never knew the term. Saccades has been entered into the database. Thank you!
  5. Glad I asked (for multiple reasons) !
    Josh what's your background? (if you don't mind me asking).

    Mike, yeah sorry the question was a bit vague, it's probably in the first hour but not the first 20 minutes.
    If I ever watch the class again I'll remember to post the context here, I assume it had to do with the dead-eye stare
  6. No worries T.j., my background is software and machine learning. I'm not sure why I have command of the fact above, probably from a neuroanatomy deep dive at some point in the past.
  7. Great point. I'm not sure if there's some sort of automatable way to animate this but it seems like it would be a nightmare, especially considering those incredibly frequent and subtle movements are usually tied to emotions, various points in conversation, personality, relationship, etc.

    The lifeforce thing is interesting. I've seen my fair share of dead animals up close and a handful of dead humans. You can often tell that people are dead in photographs, but I found it strange that I could "feel" the lack of life in a corpse when I walked into a hospital room -- I was on a ride-along years back when I was still playing with the idea of transitioning into the police from the military and we had escorted an ambulance containing a guy who had OD'd. He wasn't dead at the scene and I wasn't aware he had died when we were in hospital, but when I walked into the room it felt devoid of other people and I only realized his corpse was in there shortly after. I don't chalk it up to anything mystical but I think our senses work together in a unified manner that is difficult to pin down at times and difficult to emulate.

    (PS: What I still find most scarring is that damned scene from Return of the Jedi where the ewok gets blown up and dies. Almost everyone else in the trilogy disappears into something's mouth, or a hole, or gets transported into the afterlife, but that's the one creature that has to deal with the reality of the cold, unforgiving hand of mortality. Man...)

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