Official Thimbleweed Park Forums

Head layers, blinking animations, separate layers or baked into animations?


I’m interested in the method used for eye blinking in TP animations, and the head layer organisation.

  • The characters in TP blink when left unattended and any way other than back, are the eyes a separate layer, or are they animation frames that are part of the body or head layer?

  • Are the head layers turned off during normal walking, idle, non-talking states?

  • Sometimes, the players eyes react to dialogue (like a shifty glace reaction to a line someone has spoken), are the frames called in script during dialogue, and are these part of the body head animation, or just the head layer?

  • Finally, is the head position matched to a point on the body so as to move up and down during walking cycles? (I presume this is a big yes)

I’m working on my own engine and I’m just trying to get some ideas for how to tackle the head/eyes/body for talking phonemes, TP has a really wonderful set-up.


I can answer this one. Some dialogue lines can call special animations - you get a line like “{eyes_left}Yeah, right”. The eyes position is explicitly called then. I don’t know about the blinking.


Hasn’t Ron said somewhere that the blinking is randomized? :thinking:


Yeah, but it could still be part of the same animation image, rather than a separate layer.


Then I’m pretty sure it’s an explicit head frame, no extra layer (I mean, they have a whole head layer for each eye state)


So presumably they couldn’t change eye states during talking, since the talking is a separate frame?


If don’t find the content of my bonus disk from the box ATM, but every state of the face seems to be a single frame (no layers). You can find some of the frames in the art book.


I suppose they replicated the different eye/mouth configurations except for blinking. I don’t remember I saw the characters blinking while talking.


Oh yeah, I forgot about that! I actually bought a usb floppy drive just to do that, I totally forgot all the frames were in there!


Beside that I would do it without layers, because it’s much more easier to maintain in the engine. (Assuming that you would like to make an engine similar to the TWP engine.)


Eyes open is baked into the head, there is a seperate layer for looking left, right and blink. There is a blink timer that fires off every few seconds that turns on and then off the blink layer, but only if they are look forward. If they are looking left or right, it skips the blink. It might also skip the blink if they are talking. If they layer doesn’t exist, it’s also ignored, so if the actor blinks while using a special-case animation, nothing breaks.


You really thought of everything.
Just missing that they ask to go to the bathroom every now and then!


So they blink only if they are standing still and nothing else happens? (I have to check that :slight_smile: )


Thanks so much @RonGilbert for the detail, really helping me organise this as I really admire how TP handles the face layers, but I couldn’t quite imagine it exactly. Are the blinking frame seconds randomised or just played after a predetermined number of seconds? Agent Reyes is the only character who does a sly look to his right and chuckles, is that exactly after so many seconds or random > than so many seconds?


The time between blinks is random.


Is it? Or is it rather pseudo-random.


Thanks! Should be fun to try recreating this head/eye architecture!


I had a lot of fun trying to get the eye animations working in a semi-realistic fashion working on the podcast animation (which I am so ashamed as taken a very long back burner to other things in my life this year). Animated Podcasts

It’s super interesting to get @RonGilbert 's comments on how they handled the eye animation. I didn’t think of some of those things, like skipping the blink when talking or when looking left or right…