Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Continuing from last time we've briefly started to discover rigging and we had our first experience with the parameters in Live2D. In this next chapter, I want to attempt to show you how a blinking of the eyes can be done (there are other methods as well, but this one works for me).
Let's go through what the plan is here
I've prepared a separate part in which the eyes are in a 'closed' state. meaning in this particular case, a state where only the top eyelashes are visible.
The plan now is to animate the open eyes to have them close and show the close state of the eyelashes only once the eyes are closed and hide them as the eyes open up. Because it all happens in a fairly short moment where this happens, it won't be noticeable to us and it will appear seamless.
The first thing we have to do is to unhide the closed eye parts (should you have hided them before) and prepare their mesh. if you haven't prepared the meshes on the other parts of the eyes, now's the time where you should also do that. The result should look somewhat like the example on the right.
Unfortunately these meshes start to look a bit confusing, but this is something that you have to get used to. The good news are, you usually won't have all of them selected at once and you'll be working on them separately.
Let's start with the "eye white" of the right eye first, since this layer already has the right iris clipped to it, animating this layer will also solve the problem with the iris staying visible. The variable for the open state of this eye would be "EyeR Open". The position on the far left of that parameter is where the eye should be completely closed. We shall approach this similar to the animation we did in the last chapter. I will start with only 2 key points for now (far left and far right) and later on I will add additional points to fix the animation.
Deform Path Edits
Let's talk about the 'Deform Path Edits' function at this point. It is located on the top navigation bar in Live2D and allows the user to create paths, which will help with deformations. Essentially, instead of moving every single point in a mesh, it will move all points which are at a proximate range.
You can set up the path width and path hardness in the inspector... this is something you have to experiment with, basically it means how big the range is of those path points. Once you're done with drawing the path, click on the arrow key again to get back to your normal mode and start animating. There's also the Deform Brush Tool which is next to the Path Edits, I personally have no experience with it but I've seen others using it before.
You will notice that the frustration factor may kick in at this point... this is where experience comes into play. This tool, like some deformers we will get into soon have the tendency of making your mesh into a big mess once you try to animate them. The mesh should always be cleaned up in every single state to maintain a clean animation. I don't know how to explain this in words... but try to imagine that each point in the mesh should be treated as another point which has to be animated manually and you have to compensate for where the software failed to move them correctly. The eye falls victim the most extreme for this particular problem. I will animate the top and bottom eye lashes accordingly and once I am done we can check out the work in progress. Please be aware that you also have to do the same thing for the other eye.
The result can be seen on the right side... this is with the eyes having 3 states (far left, far right and middle), the same we had as with moving the irises. This can however be refined further, let me show you one method of how to add new key points to the parameters.
Let's say you want to add this following key point to fix certain things on the eye because you are not happy with how the upper eyelash currently is:
You will notice that a small pop-up window has appeared next to the parameter. Now this pop up appears no matter on which position you are as long you are moving the parameter slider. you can see a green dot icon and a crossed out dot icon. The green one allows you to add a new key point and the other one deletes the key point at that position. I also want to mention here that clicking the right mouse button over a key point will snap the slider to that exact position. That way, you can pretty much fix each assigned part on any positions of the parameter, it does come in handy.
Now you may notice that the eyelashes don't look clean when they are closed. This is the other reason why I've drawn the closed eye state of the lashes. These can be used as an overlay on the currently animated lashes and are only active on the left side of the parameter, vanishing as the eyes open up. As I've mentioned before, the "Opacity" of a part can also be used for animation. Just set it to a desired percentage on each relevant key point. The result is basically seamless at you won't even notice it's there if done properly.
In the next chapter we can have a look at the warp deformers and I will try to show how I do some basic mouth animations.