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Sample Effect: Animated Face Mask

Learn to create an animated face mask effect!



This effect is one of our featured templates. You can find it by opening Spark AR Studio and selecting Samples, or by downloading the sample content. You can adapt any of the assets in this effect to create your own projects.

In this guide, you'll learn about:

  1. Using a texture to create a make up effect, and adding retouching.
  2. Using distortion to change the shape of the face.
  3. Adding 3D objects - the ears and whiskers in this effect.
  4. Using the Patch Editor to accurately position objects on someone's face.
  5. Using an animation playback controller to animate the whiskers, and the Patch Editor to animate the ears.
  6. Adding interactivity to change the color of the ears.
  7. Using exponential smoothing - to adjust the movement of the ears.
  8. Adding custom instructions.

Getting started

If you want to build this effect yourself, open the unfinished effect in the sample content folder. So you can get started quickly, we've already:

  1. Imported external textures and objects.
  2. Inserted a face tracker.
  3. Inserted and named 4 null objects, as children of the face tracker. You'll use these to manipulate the 3D objects.

The make up effect

Create the make up effect by applying a custom texture to a face mesh.

Start by creating a face mesh as a child of the face tracker that's already in the scene. To help you keep track, rename it. We chose faceMeshMakeup. In the Inspector, create a new material for faceMeshMakeup. Rename the material bunnyMakeup_mat.

You'll need to make a few changes to bunnyMakeup_mat in the Inspector:

  1. Change the Shader Type to Face Paint.
  2. Next to Texture, click the arrow and select bunnyMakeup_tex.

The make up looks quite bright at the moment. Under Render Options there are a few changes you can make, so it looks more natural:

  1. Change Opacity - we chose 80%.
  2. Change BG Influence - we chose 50%.
  3. Change Brightness - we chose 40%.

Your project should look like this:

Retouching

Create a second face mesh and rename it faceMeshRetouch.

In the Inspector, create a new material for faceMeshRetouch. Change the Shader Type to Retouching.

You can now adjust the slider to add a smoothing effect to the scene. We set the slider to 100%.

Distortion

To distort the shape of the face, you'll apply a 3D object called a blend shape. It's listed in the Assets Panel as bunnyFaceMorph. This blend shape makes the eyes and cheeks a bit rounder, and the mouth a bit smaller.

Create a face mesh and rename it faceMeshDistortion. Scroll down to Deformation in the Inspector. Then:

  1. Click + next to Deformation, and select bunnyFaceMorph.
  2. Under Morph Object, adjust the slider to make the deformation more, or less, dramatic. We set it to 100%. Uncheck the boxes next to Eyes and Mouth, so the face mesh doesn't cover them.

The shape of the face should look different now:

Adding the 3D objects

The whiskers and ears are 3D objects.

We'll manipulate the position, scale and rotation of the 3D objects by making changes to the null objects. Otherwise, these properties would be controlled by the animations that are baked into the 3D object.

To add the objects to scene, drag them from the Assets Panel into the Scene Panel. We added each object to the scene twice:

  1. Drag bunnyEar_animated onto bunnyEarRotator_left, and again onto bunnyEarRotator_right.
  2. Drag bunnyWhisker_animated onto bunnyWhiskerRotator_left and again onto bunnyWhisterRotator_right.

Positioning the ears

Adjust the null objects to set the position of the ears. We used the manipulators to work out the best position, but you could also set the position in the Inspector. For:

  1. bunnyEarRotator_left, set X to 2.5, Y to 10 and Z to -5.
  2. bunnyEarRotator_right, set X to -2.5, Y to 10 and Z to -5.

For bunnyEarRotator_right, next to Scale change X to -1. This will flip the ear over to the other side.

It's worth noting that making this adjustment to the scale changes the material's normals - they'll be inside out. Make sure the material, bunnyEar_color_Mat is set to Double Sided - by checking the box under Render Options in the Inspector.

Positioning the whiskers

You'll use the Patch Editor to position the whiskers, so they're placed precisely below the nose.

First we need to flip one of the whiskers over to the other side of the face, like we did with the ears. To do this:

  1. Select bunnyWhiskerRotator_right.
  2. In the Inspector panel, change X to -1 next to Scale.

Again, make sure the material, whisker_mat is set to Double Sided - by checking the box under Render Options in the Inspector.

Creating the patches

You'll position the whiskers by manipulating the position of the null objects.

To create patches to represent the position of the null objects, select bunnyWhiskerRotator_left and bunnyWhisterRotator_right. You can hold down command on your keyboard to select them both at the same time.

In the Inspector, click the arrow next to Position. A patch will be made for both null objects.



Then:

  1. Drag the face tracker from the Scene Panel, into the Patch Editor.
  2. Right-click anywhere in the Patch Editor to open the menu. Select a Nose patch, and 2 Add patches.

For both Add patches, change the Type to Point 3D, because we're positioning the whiskers on a 3D object in 3D space.

The Nose patch is a face landmark patch. It will capture precise data on the position of the nose in the scene, so we can position the objects in relation to it.

Connect the Nose patch to the Face port in facetracker0, to capture data on the position of the nose in the scene.



Connecting the patches

Connect:

  1. The Left Nostril Position port in the Nose patch to the input port at the top of an Add patch.
  2. The Right Nostril Position port in the Nose patch to the input port at the top of the other Add patch.
  3. The output port of each Add patch to the patches representing the 3D position of each object.

Your graph should look like this:



Tweak the Add patches, so the whiskers are in exactly the right place. Adjust the X, Y and Z values along the bottom of the add patches:

  • For the Add patch connected to to whiskerRotator_left, set X to 1.5, Y to -0.8 and Z to -0.1.
  • For the second Add patch, set X to -1.5, Y to -0.8 and Z to -0.1.

The whiskers should now be directly under the nose.

Animating the whiskers

The 3D object we've used to create the whiskers has an animation included in the file. The animation is listed as wiggle in the Assets panel. To make the animation play in the effect, we'll use an animation playback controller:

  1. Click Add Asset at the bottom of the Assets Panel.
  2. Select Animation Playback Controller.

To connect the playback controller to the objects in the scene:

  1. Select bunny_whisker_animated.
  2. In the Inspector, select Animation Playback Controller from the dropdown next to Animation.
  3. Repeat this step for the other set of whiskers.

The animation playback controller is set to play the animation at the start of the effect by default, and loop continually while the effect plays. You could change these properties, and the speed of the animation, in the Inspector.

Animating the ears

The ears also have animations included in the object files. We could use an animation playback controller to animate the ears too, but in the finished effect we've used the Patch Editor instead.

This is so we can add a Delay patch, making the animation for each ear start at a slightly different time so the movement looks more natural.

Creating the patches

To create patches representing the Animation property of the objects:

  1. Select bunnyEar_animated_left in the Scene tab - you'll need to expand the null object first.
  2. Click the arrow next to Animation in the Inspector panel.
  3. Repeat these steps for bunnyEar_animated_right.

Next, create the animation patches. Right-click in the Patch Editor and select:

  1. A Loop Animation patch - this patch will tell the animations to loop continuously.
  2. 2 Animation Player patches - to drive the animations for each ear.
  3. A Delay patch.


Under BunnyEar_animated in the Assets panel, select Swing and drag it into the Patch Editor:



Connecting the patches

First connect the Animation Player patches:

  1. Connect the Animation port in the first Animation Player patch to the Animation port in bunnyEar_animated_left.
  2. Connect the Animation port in the other Animation Player patch to the Animationport in bunnyEar_animated_right.


Next, connect:

  1. The Swing patch to the Animation Asset input port of each Animation Player.
  2. The Progress port in Loop Animation to the Progress port in one of the Animation Player patches.

To add the Delay patch:

  1. Connect the Progress port in Loop Animation to the input in then Delay patch.
  2. Connect the output of the Delay patch to the Progress port in the other Animation Player patch.

Set the Duration value in the Delay patch. We went with 0.43 seconds.

Your graph should look like this:



The ears should now be animated.

Changing color options

We've used a Screen Tap, Counter and Option Picker to count through different color options when the screen is tapped.

Creating the patches

From the menu in the Patch Editor, select a:

  1. Screen Tap patch - to detect when someone taps the device screen.
  2. Counter - to count through color options the option picker.
  3. Option Picker - this is where we'll set the color options. You'll need to set the Type to Color.
  4. Mix patch - to combine the logic with the texture and material.


Next, create patches to represent the texture and material:

  1. Select bunny_tex in the Assets panel, and drag it into the Patch Editor to create a patch.
  2. Select bunnyEar_color_mat in the Assets panel. This is the material applied to the bunny ears.
  3. In the Inspector, click the arrow next to Diffuse Texture to create a patch representing this property.

Like with the whiskers, the materials applied to the ears are set to render on both sides of the mesh. To achieve a more performant effect, you could create a second set of materials, and change the Cull Mode from Back to Front, to reverse the normals.

Connecting the patches

Connect the patches, so your graph looks like this:



Adding the color options

Add color options for the ears in the Option Picker. We picked blue and pink, but you could go with something else.

It's important here to set the Alpha value in the Mix patch to grey. This causes the patches to create a mix of the original texture from the texture patch, and the colors coming from the option picker.

In the Counter patch, make sure the Maximum Count matches the number of options in the Option Picker. We set it to 2.

You can test this part of the effect by clicking the gear in the Simulator, and selecting Simulate Touch.

Using Exponential Smoothing

In real life the ears would move in response to the movement of the head, instead of in a uniform way like they are at the moment. For example if the head moved quickly, so would the ears.

To achieve this effect we're going to use exponential smoothing. We've added a Patch Group to the project that you can use to do this. It's listed in the Assets panel as Exponential Smooth Vec3.

We'll use the rotation of the user's head to trigger the exponential smoothing. So when the head rotates, exponential smoothing will cause the ears to move in response.

Creating the patches

  1. Create patches for the 3D Rotation property of the null objects bunnyEarRotator_left and bunnyEarRotator_right.
  2. Drag the Exponential Smooth Vec3 patch group into the Patch Editor.

The patch group

If you click the right corner of the patch group, the group will expand. You'll see it's made of several patches:



The input is driven by the 3D Rotation of the face tracker.

Unpack allows us to take each of these coordinates and perform separate operations on them. In this case, we've used Exponential Smoothing patches to return a smoothed signal, based on the Damping factor. In this case, we set the Damping factor to 200 milliseconds.

Click Back to Main to return to the graph.

Connecting the patches

  1. Connect the Input port in Exponential Smooth Vec3 to the 3D Rotation port in facetracker0.
  2. Connect the Output port in Exponential Smooth Vec3 to the 3D Rotation ports in bunnyEarRotator_left and bunnyEarRotator_right.

Your graph should look like this:



Adding custom instructions

We've added an instruction token to this effect. We've used:

  1. A Runtime patch to detect how long the effect has been running.
  2. A Less Than patch. We adjusted the value in this patch to 3 seconds. This will display instructions while the effect has been running for less than 3 seconds.


Congratulations! You've now completed the effect!

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