Snappers unveils Snappers Wrinkles Designer
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Snappers Reveals Snappers Wrinkles Designer

Friday, October 16, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker

Animation studio Snappers has released a teaser video for Snappers Wrinkles Designer, an eye-catching Maya toolset that allows users to interactively create facial wrinkles for a character in real time.

According to Snappers, it works with any 3D character, regardless of topology or UV layout, and can export fold, blood flow, and displacement maps for use in game engines like Unreal Engine.

The software is part of Snappers' internal toolset, but the company plans to make it public "soon".

Create facial wrinkles for your 3D character in real time by editing the guide curves
The user interface of Snappers Wrinkles Designer gives the user a 2D view of the character's face with the face structure unpacked: according to Snappers, it supports any face topology or UV layout.

Superimposed curves determine the position and shape of the folds.

When editing a guide curve, the 3D drawing in the Maya viewport is updated in real time and provides an interactive workflow for editing freeform shapes.

It seems like an intuitive way of creating wrinkles – and crazy fun, not entirely random.

Automatically creates underfolds and micro details
In addition to creating creases along the guide curves, Snappers Wrinkles Designer can interpolate between them to create an intervening series of creases or even "overlapping layers of underfolds".

The shape of each fold can be changed via parameters that control properties such as width, thickness, spread and noise.

The software automatically generates "subpixel micro-details" such as fine folds of skin between the folds and has an integrated environmental locking system.

Plays well with hybrid shapes and exports texture maps for use in game engines
The wrinkle system also interacts with facial expressions: the demo shows a user scrubbing between two different face mixes with separate wrinkle patterns.

According to Snappers, it is possible to "save templates" for each face action.

In addition to being used to set up characters for use in Maya, the software can also export the result as texture maps for other DCC applications and game engines.

In the comments on the YouTube video, Snappers says it can export fold maps, blood flow maps, and displacement maps.

Part of a wider set of character design tools
While Snappers' earlier tech demos were for in-house tools – its clients include gaming and VFX establishments like EA, BioWare, and Mr. X – Snappers Wrinkles Designer appears to be slated for release.

Commenting on the YouTube video, the company says it plans to commercially release the software "soon" and comments, "We're working on it and need your support."

The video also indicates public releases for other tools.

The description describes Snappers Wrinkles Designer as part of the Snappers Character Designer Suite, and the company comments that there will be another tool for creating … hybrid shapes.

Pricing and system requirements
Snappers Wrinkles Designer is coming "soon". Snappers did not announce any pricing or system requirements.

For more information on Snappers Wrinkles Designer, see the comments on the YouTube demo

Tags: add-on, ambient occlusion, hybrid shape, blood flow map, displacement map, facial expression, face shape, face wrinkles, game development, game engines, guide curve, guide spline, interactive, Maya, micro details, parameterized curve modeling, plugin, price, real time, release date, snappeers , Snappers Character Design Suite, Snappers Systems, Snappers Wrinkles Designer, System Requirements, Texture Map, Topology, UE4, Unreal Engine, UV Layout, VFX, Visual Effects, Wrinkle Map

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