Emotion is the key to getting your audience to connect and engage with your video. Studies discovered universal expressions of seven emotions: surprise, joy, disgust, sadness, anger, contempt, and fear. These results mean any viewer will likely associate your character’s facial expressions—like a smile—with given feelings—like joy.
The issue is that viewers can misunderstand your video’s message if the emotions your character conveys are ambiguous.
For example; psychiatrists have linked crossed arms to defensiveness. So, if your character performs this action with a big smile, your viewers might be unsure about the emotion you convey: Are they hiding something? Are they happy? Are they uncomfortable? It’s unclear.
Luckily, adding the correct expressions at the right time to convey the desired emotion is easy using the following six techniques.
1. Change their facial expression
Facial expressions are a huge part of how humans perceive emotion and make their emotions known to others.
Like in real life, the characters from your animation should change their facial expressions as they go through your video’s events.
For example; if your character just heard surprising news, take him from a Neutral to a Shocked or Surprised facial expression depending on whether the information was positive or negative.
You can change your character’s facial expressions in Vyond Studio by clicking on them and selecting the Expression icon at the top right corner. From there, you can pick between the expression that better resembles your character’s feelings at that particular scene.
2. Change their actions
Body language—like vocal tone and gestures—allows humans to interpret other people’s emotions just as their facial expressions do.
Psychologists like Albert Mehrabian argue body language transmits as much as 93% of a message. While people have criticized Mehrabian’s study, it’s clear that it’s harder to convey emotion without body language. Or when body language doesn’t match facial expressions.
For example; our “Too noisy” pose covers a character’s ears and adds two bolts of lightning next to them. This pose is perfect to symbolize a noisy environment. Therefore, adding an expression of joy on the character’s face wouldn’t make any sense, while one of frustration does.
You can change your character’s actions by selecting a character and clicking on the Action menu at the top right corner. From there, pick an action that amplifies the emotion that your character’s facial expression is trying to convey.
3. Add facial expressions to your characters before adding audio
The character expression you add before adding audio (lip-syncing) influences how your character looks before, during, and after saying your lines.
For example; you can add a “smiling” facial expression to your character if the voice line is exciting or positive. This addition won’t make your character smile while talking. But it’ll add a smile before and after the character says any sentence, thus projecting happiness.
Like before, select your character and add a facial expression at the top right corner. You can then click on your character once more to add a Dialog in the mic icon from your toolbar.
The Dialog menu allows you to record from your microphone, upload an audio file, or use our text-to-speech feature to assign an audio track to your character. You can pick the recording option that better suits your needs.
4. Include music to emphasize your character’s emotions
The music you use emphasizes your character’s feelings while also helping the viewer feel these emotions.
For example; studies found sad music—think Mozart’s Requiem—can amplify people’s feelings of sorrow and melancholy. Therefore, playing sad music while your character goes through an unfortunate situation will magnify the scene’s gloomy atmosphere.
On the flip side, play upbeat music as the character smiles, and your video will convey positivity.
You can add music to your project by clicking on Audio at the top left side of the toolbar. From there, you can either choose between dozens of our music tracks or upload an audio track.
5. Use camera movements
Camera movements can direct the viewers’ attention to the action or facial expression your character is performing.
A zoom—when you give the illusion that the camera is closer or further from the subject than it is—is an easy movement you can incorporate into any video.
For example; you can zoom in to a character’s face so that the viewer can focus, say, on the frustration or joy in the character’s face. Then, you can zoom out after a few seconds to re-establish the entire frame as the area worth watching.
You can zoom in or zoom out easily with Vyond by first adding a Camera Movement from the Camera icon at the top right corner. Then, change the placement of the triangles based on how you want to zoom.
To zoom in, place the light orange rectangle on top of your character’s face and make it smaller than the dark rectangle. To zoom out, interchange the rectangle’s sizes.
Zooms are one of seven camera movements you can use to emphasize your character’s expressions and actions. You can learn more about these camera movements here.
6. Utilize the Continue Scene feature
Characters can only have one expression per scene. So to switch their face before changing the props and scenario, we need to use the Continue Scene feature.
Vyond’s Continue Scene feature allows you to continue a scene from a previous scene’s endpoint.
This feature is useful for scenes where you want to keep the same props, characters, and environment while changing a character’s expressions or actions.
For example; let’s say you create a scene where the company’s CEO shows the company’s annual performance to his team members. The scene could consist of two shots:
- One before the CEO shows the results
- One after the CEO shows the results
In the first shot, the employees could have a neutral facial expressions. However, you could use the Continue Scene feature during scene B to keep the elements of the first shot while changing the employees’ facial expressions to either surprised, sad, or happy, depending on the CEO’s report.
You can use the Continue Scene feature by right-clicking on a scene from your timeline and selecting Continue Scene. These steps will create a new scene on your timeline with the same props, characters, and setup that the previous one had.
You can read this article to learn six use cases for our Continue Scene feature.
Add emotions to your Vyond characters in minutes
Vyond allows you to create characters from every age group in just a few minutes. Once they are ready, you can brainstorm the emotions that your script’s lines and video should convey.
You can then use this data to pick between dozens of facial expressions and hundreds of character actions in just a few clicks.
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