Art Spotlight: Morpher Animated Face - Military Cartoon Hartman

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In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.

Hi, my name is Willy Decarpentrie. I work as 3D artist since 2005 in the Montreal video game industry. My job is mainly creating assets that will be placed into a game engine. I also do some level design on my own, I have to say it’s almost more exciting creating than playing videogames.

I enjoy publishing some of my models on Sketchfab, it’s the “2016 way” to show my artwork, making the portfolio more fun to watch.

Today I will present you a quick breakdown of one of my model “Morpher Animated Face – Military Cartoon Hartman”:

Step 1 : The idea

This project is a personal idea, non-part of an actual videogame project, the good thing is the creativity range. So let’s begin by the concept, create an angry cartoon face, who will be yelling an unfriendly speech.

I love war movies, especially “Full metal Jacket”, so let’s take a soundtrack from Sgt.Hartman. I want my model to be cartoon with the “Pixar look”, small nose, big eyes and overly expressive mouth.

Let’s take this one:

Here’s my concept process:


Step 2 : The modeling

Next step is to create the mesh, we will set an angry expression by default. Don’t forget to create to interior of the mouth, with the tong and the teeth. Create a basic rig with 3 bones, (neck, head and lower jaw). Always create a mesh that goes the same way than the actual muscles behind the skin. That way your skin deformation will look much realistic.


Step 3 : The morpher

This is the main difficulty of this project, the first thing to do is to get references, you cannot create morphers (also called “blend shape”) without reference. So let’s take a few pictures of various expression.


The character will say the following text :

“D’ya mean to tell me that you cannot do one single pull up ? You are a worthless piece of shit pile. Get out of my face !”

For this project my character will get only the morphers required for this speech, in every other project, we will have to create almost 20 morphers. Most of the time, I begin by the main phoneme, like “A”, “E”, “I”, “O”, “U”, “W”, “F”, “P”, “M”, and some extra like the eyes closed or a sniffing nose.

The best reference you can get is your own face, borrow your girlfriend’s make-up mirror (or your own one) and look at your face when speaking. Observe how your muscle work, where are the wrinkles and how your eyebrow react and move unconsciously.


Step 4 : The animation

By placing the soundtrack directly into the 3DsMax scene, you’ll create the animation of the morpher first, then the keyframe for the neck, head and the lower jaw. The lower jaw bone add an extra control for the mouth. Finally let anim the “follow through” of the helmet.



Like every 3D work, you have to reproduce the reality but you also have to add your special touch of cartoonism. In most case the exaggeration help to get a cartoon animation. Don’t look at your animation frame but frame it will look ugly, even in the reality someone who speak is ugly while paused. Verify your animation at normal speed.


Thank YOU Willy!

You can find more of Willy’s work here on Sketchfab, and also on his personal website, ArtStation, Behance and LinkedIn.

About the author

Bart Veldhuizen

Community Lead at Sketchfab. 3D Scanning enthusiast and Blenderhead.

1 Comment

  • Brian Roy says:

    Supper cool! I agree that references a really important. What’s nice is Willy is showing us that we can create our own references so we always have access to facial expressions, hands, feet…you name it! A good animator will use everything he’s got at his disposal.

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