Enchanted Object: Magic Mirror

For this weeks assignment, I decided to combine my previous knowledge from my pepper’s ghost project with a new idea. I decided to create the magic mirror from Shrek.

first I searched for quite a while for a rigged face online. Strangely, it took many hours to do this, and before I found one I actually had resorted to modeling a face from scratch in Maya. Eventually however, I did fine one on Turbosquid.com. It was a robot head though, so I had to do quite a bit of modeling on an already rigged head. (Which is very dangerous to do).

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With a reference picture from a film segment I found on youtube, I started modeling the face of the mask by deleting unnecessary parts of the robot head and moving each vertex of the mesh one by one as carefully as possible. After messing up once and decoupling the model from the rigging, I started over and was able to finish a nicely modeled Mask.

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After this I recorded video of me acting out yes and no answers to questions. I decided to start with three different voice options for possible questions, yes, no, and maybe.

The next step after recording was converting the video into tiff image sequences, which I used Premiere to export as. And then imported the video as an image file sequence of tiffs into Maya to use as a background in order to animate the mask on top.

After everything was animated, the next step was rendering. I rendered all the answers with mental ray in Maya and exported them as video through FCheck. I then recombined the sound back into the videos using Premiere by taking out the old film footage of myself and replacing it with the new mask movies. All the videos  were ready for playing. Now for the effect

To create the magic mirror, I overplayed a half silvered mirror on top of my laptop screen. Since only light from one side of a mirror will be passing through at a time, this give the effect of it being a mirror but also showing the face from behind the glass. I created a powerpoint presentation that I could control with a hidden bluetooth keyboard while watching my users. I would tell them to say “mirror mirror” in order to make the mirror appear. I had all the videos set to play automatically so everything went generally smoothly as long as the user asked a yes or no question. After the user had asked their question I would just continue the presentation with an answer.

Below is the final rendered clips of the answers. More footage will soon be uploaded of a user actually using the program. But for now I’ve kept the half silvered mirror with Dan for safe keeping.


My final project will build off of this so hopefully it will be even more exciting! I want a live user to be able to speak through the mask to answer questions. More on this to come later 🙂