Faceless Portraits: 3D Modelling and Animation using Blender

Moving from and between physical and digital media led me to spend January, and February, looking at the ability technology provides to use a digital space to manipulate an object. In this space objects can be created, manipulated, rotated, lit, animated and `photographed’. The application’s tool set in many cases mimic (use as metaphors) parallel processes to the physical world. Sculpture tools which add, remove, pinch or smooth an object.

Wire-frame which although it has become the archetypal image of computer graphics has its origins in the armatures and wire work used in clay sculpture. Placing metaphorical cameras, choosing camera angles, lens size, and camera tracking.

I am exploring and extending ideas from Faceless Portraits where an impression of a person is created without including a head or face. Now, using Blender, I create a simple head with minimal facial details. I negotiate a balance between the digital 3D form and the 2D `faceless portraits` wrapping the portraits around the form. The 3D form distorts the 2D image and the 2D images camouflage the form.

The next stage is to create a more detailed 3D form. Using Blender I created a sculpted digital head with more detail but which, for technical reasons, was more difficult to skin. This was abandoned and remained a `rough’.

I am currently creating a detailed model of my own head. It is representational, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, and uses a mesh topology which should allow it to be photographically skinned so camouflaging the facial features. The mesh topology used not only allows for ready skinning of the form but also presents extension possibilities allowing ready animation: opening and closing the mouth, moving the eyes.

As I worked with Blender, I made a series of short, animated rotations, presenting it as a fully formed digital 3D object.

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