The Face of Bayonetta

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

bayo_face

Man. She’s pretty hot, isn’t she?

She’s got a sort of cold beauty about her.

I’m Masanori Takashima, the facial animator, I mean perpetrator, behind all of Bayonetta’s sexy facial expression. I’d like to explain what it takes to do facial animation (and a little more) while telling you a bit about the character’s personalities.

As the facial lead on Bayonetta, my job started at setting up the facial controller and went all the way through animating the actual movements.

I think everyone has seen faces or had their faces seen almost everyday, which means that we are all well tuned to “(changes of) expressions.” Expressions break through the walls of words and have the power to share emotions with others. Thus, to make an empathetic, interesting character, these expressions hold an incredibly important meaning.

With facial animation, the first step is to set the character’s designs (their key expression) and then start from there.

Bayonetta is the cool, adult with an air of sexiness.

Jeanne is the ice-queen.

Luka is the active one always getting carried away; a handsome man, but something is a bit off about him.

Rodin is kinda like the guy behind the counter of the Cat’s Eye Coffee Shop in City Hunter.

Enzo is the chicken.

Cereza is the cute little kid with the wealth of expressions.

With that information in hand, we can get to each character’s idiosyncrasies, as well as the flow of each scene. This is something that gets put together alongside Kamiya-san.

Even though all of these characters have their own particular quirks, we really focused on Bayonetta and making sure she had a true sense of femininity and grace.

The first thing that I set out to do was to get the right feeling for the tenderness of her mouth. For instance, the instant she opens her mouth, there should be a sense of adhesion as the center of her gloss covered lips part and open. Or when she talks, it is important to express the smoothness of the movements of her lips. All of these things needed to be integrated into a facial controller.

Facial controllers are used to efficiently control the joints in the facial model. As I went through a period weighing an easy to use interface with the ability to make very complex and subtle movements, I arrived at this controller.

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Now we move on to animation.

To get across the idea of seductiveness, I paid particular attention to lines of sight. For the well-experience Bayonetta, she should be able to easily kill a man with her eyes alone. She could look one over from the tips of their toes to the top of their head, or maybe throw in a flirtatious sideways glace, or shoot a look with upturned eyes. She is a woman with an incredible amount of sassy.

Kamiya-san also has a very specific image of who Bayonetta is in his head, and we arrived at a mutual understanding that things should be done “like… this.”

The main part of this blog was to introduce you to the facial animations, but I was also in-charge of modeling the small objects that we needed for our cutscenes, so I think I will add a little bonus content in that regard.

There are lots of little background elements and backstory in the game that we can’t touch upon in the main scenario; however, we are making the cutscenes so that the second bite is always better the first. For instance, plays on teasing someone for being a Cheshire cat, or revealing someone’s mother, or even the logo on someone’s beloved automobile. There are tons of places where we have added extra meaning.

No matter how many times you beat the game, please take time to enjoy the cutscenes to their fullest.

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37 Comments Add Your Own

Patodevil Posted on September 4, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Awesome, i like a lot the british accent!!

aXL99 Posted on September 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm

It's a bit of a shame the first vid went by quickly, but damn the rigging looks so solid it allows Bayonetta to pull off all sorts of facial expressions!

Yo Posted on September 4, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Now that's just cruel. =)

Maruis Posted on September 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I would have loved to see some close-up video examples to showcase what you were talking about with the controls and animations. It's not too late to add that into this article. How about it?!

Crow T. Robot Posted on September 4, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Oh that lower left pic is shmexy.

FAUNA Posted on September 5, 2009 at 2:04 am

Facial animation is extremely important. I'm looking forward to the cutscenes more than anything else! How much cinema footage will be in the game? Please say tons!

Renor Mirshann Posted on September 5, 2009 at 2:58 am

Man, she's beautiful. Shame we must wait till next year, Sega was totally wrong about crowded fall, especially in the slashers genre.

AND PLEASE BE GOOD, PS3 VERSION. I don't want to play some downgraded port of the game :

Rizhall Posted on September 5, 2009 at 6:08 am

Bottom left shot in the top picture: whoa, lipstick makes her look even MORE sexy.

I love her eye expressions when she talks, they add so much.

Shark_in_a_jar Posted on September 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

Just so you know – no-one from England speaks like that. No one.

brukaoru Posted on September 5, 2009 at 9:51 am

No worries about stiff character animation here. Very well done! :D

Limnx Posted on September 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

are you using morphing or bones?

Blas Posted on September 5, 2009 at 10:58 am

I hate her glasses

rockygunner Posted on September 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

can't wait to get my hands on her.

baberific Posted on September 5, 2009 at 12:22 pm

hmmm…she has the odd sophistication to her that makes me…how you say?

All giddy inside.

Great work the facial animation, cause doing that without the motion capture always adds this sort of, homemade feel.

psychostudio Posted on September 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm

yeszzz…. sexxy…

precisionsn Posted on September 6, 2009 at 3:04 am

very well done , she is beautiful :)

Mister 庭 Posted on September 6, 2009 at 6:05 am

I love the City Hunter comparision for Rodin.

I dont get it, my brother asks me all the time, why i like Bayonetta, and i answer, she is simply hot.

:[ Gotta love Bayonetta.

GWT Posted on September 6, 2009 at 7:51 am

I don't know what this says about me, but the glasses and the British accent already made her stupid sexy to me.

Granted, its not a real British accent, but I'm A-OK with Faux-Brits and sexy glasses.

agent58 Posted on September 6, 2009 at 8:21 am

great rendering. looks easier to use then MAX.

joanlies Posted on September 6, 2009 at 9:05 am

Yes, She's hot and I love her glasses. Will you do any options for change the colour?

Humberto Posted on September 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

Are all of SoftImage's face rig sliders like that? Because if they are I already like them more than the ones in Maya where you have to go find it in the world rather than having it as a seperate window. As for the animation itself, I'm sorta envious, I can't do facial animation that well yet.

Maxim Posted on September 6, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Nice face

sonicsmind Posted on September 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

O WOooooowwww…. She looks awesome… n sexy

Maruis Posted on September 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Thank you very much for adding the footage. That was very helpful.

Brob Posted on September 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I have to say, even though the game isn't finished and I have yet to play it, Bayonetta is (in my opinion) the sexiest video game character I have ever seen. Not just that, but she seems genuinely interesting as a character. You guys are doing an incredible job.

twenty1 Posted on September 11, 2009 at 8:21 am

great post………you captured the true essence

vincent. Posted on September 11, 2009 at 9:22 am

Wow, it must be really stressing to make all this specific animations, according to Bayonetta's personality. I have to say that they really do add a great amount of "sassy." Btw i love the upper right pic in the set…looks like she's ready to pounce on someone…sexy

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