View Full Version : Michael Malinowski's facial rig

02 February 2004, 03:12 PM
Hi there, anybody has seen this thread of facial rigging ??, this guy approach seems really interesting to me, it's xsi based though, would that be a pain pain to simulate that kind of rig in Maya ?(I don't know the constraint system enough to have a go in Maya.
Do you think it has strong limitations for animating ?
link (

02 February 2004, 07:21 PM
You could certainly set up this kind of rig with Maya. You would create clusters for your spline points and then drive them with your control movement. To attach the transforms/locators to the curve you would use a pointOnCurveInfo node to drive the position of the transforms.

The interface with the controls set up next to the face is similar to the approaches Jason Osipa goes over in his "Stop Staring" book on rigging, though with Jason's rig the controls are driving blendShapes, not bones. You can set it up to drive either or both though.

Personally I would set (errrr... am setting) things up differently than Malinowski's rig. I think his rig gives too much movement through the face, though of course some movement in the cheek is good when the jaw opens, etc. But I think his approach makes things a little bit too floaty for my tastes. You could certainly use that approach though to control bone movement, but use shorter splines in order to control where the stretching occurs.

As far as the controls floating next to the face, I find that useful for setting things up initially and good for testing when you only have a head, but once you put it on a body and start moving everything around in a scene, then those beside-the-head controls don't work out as well. I'm setting up my rig with controls directly on the face (parented to the head bone) so that you can have the face full frame in the viewport, and be able to grab the parts of it that you like. But if you do this then you want to keep your selection objects (usually splines) small and unobtrusive, otherwise it obscures the mesh and you can't get a feel for the face's expression without hiding splines.

Michael Duffy

02 February 2004, 07:57 PM
Hi there, and thx for the consistent note. Now that you gave up the vocab I'm gonna dig into documentation to look at all the stuff you're talking about.
Very neat expanation.
I'll definately consider using it with blendshapes and I'm working on Ekman's facial action units to choose which kind of splines and locators i'm gonna used, I've already spent hoours on the conceptual an anthropologic aspect of the facial rig but i really lack experience in Maya to set it up properly
Thx you so much again.

02 February 2004, 07:45 AM
I just rigged a face like this in Maya yesterday. A fellow TD gave me the idea when I saw him playing with Jason Osipa's facial rig. It's actually quite simple to do.

The controls are all made out of curves with translation limits or clamp constraints. Then I connected the translation of the little circle to drive a different blendshape at each corner of the boxes.

It's really quite something to see the rig in action, as you move the little circles around the face comes alive with expression! The required blendshapes are outlined in Jason's book "Stop Staring" and you only need about 12 to get a very wide range of expression.

The blendshapes are muscle based rather than the traditional 'pose' based.

Very cool stuff IMO.

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