View Full Version : How to create proper blend shapes in Maya

11 November 2007, 11:21 PM
Hello to all.

I'd like to begin by requesting input from modelers or animators with production experience in working with blend shapes.

I've recently begun creating blend shapes. The process really isn't the issue, only because it's rather straight forward. My problem rests in how to create the clean look I need around the eyes and mouth. I recently had the opportunity to create blend shapes on a model head made from SubD's. The blending of the eyes was very clean as was the mouth. However, now I'm working on a Polygon head and this is where I'm starting to run into...... challenges.
What do I mean by that? Well, to begin, when using the softmod tool on a SubD model, the geometry sculpts very smoothly. On a Poly model, there is much more tweaking that needs to be done, not only that, I find that the geometry around the eyes must be rather heavy to ensure the eyes are smooth in roundness.
Is there a method that somebody can recommend that eases the shaping of the geometry. I'm already familiar with moving cv's, scaling and using the softmod tool, but it continues to be a little frustrating when the cv's don't quite line up correctly. In other words, there are small gaps with the eyes, or the smile on the face isn't exactly smooth and flowing.

I can watch a movie like "The Incredibles" and be amazed at the detail the characters heads (faces) have. I'm just trying to emulate the same techiques (keeping in mind how much my computer can do with its available resources), but obviously I'm either missing something, or I'm using the wrong method.
So, for those who do this on a regular basis, I'd like to ask where do you begin? In terms of the model itself, how dense should it be, more importantly, how dense should the eyes and mouth be to create nice blend shapes. Next, what are your favorite tools and methods to use when sculpting the eyes and mouth? I want both the eyes and mouth to be clean and smooth when opening and closing. Finally, are polygons still the choice for geometry, or are subD's becoming acceptable as well?

My background is primarily in modeling and texturing, so I'm now trying to add animation to my skills. Reading can only do so much for a person, so I'm constantly trying my hand at developing new skills. Therefore, any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

11 November 2007, 08:34 PM
hey mate,

You using 2008?

If so then you can select your model and press 3 on your keyboard to get a smooth mesh.

Then To render it smooth goto window>settings/prefs>plugin manager>load Mayatomr(which is mental ray)

Then select your model goto window>rendering editors>mental ray>approximation editor

create a approx node by clicking "create" under the Sub-d Polygon title.

Render with mental ray.

that's it perfectly smoothy renders with low res poly mesh!!!

2008 rocks.

If you don't have 2008 then you can't model in smooth mode (3 on keyboard) you'll just have to render to see it smooth.

11 November 2007, 10:31 PM
Hi Jason108.

Thanks for writing. First off, I'm currently using Maya 8.5. I may have misunderstood your letter, but are you suggesting to build in polygons first? I'm guessing that Maya 2008 offers some new approaches to modeling which I don't have access to at this time.

Thanks though.

11 November 2007, 10:50 PM
Yeah use polygons to model.

Stop Staring really helped me for blend shape stuff by the way, highly worth the $30.

so in 8.5 you can't preview the smooth mode like you can in 2008 but I think you can use the approx editor to render smooth which is the main thing.

You understand the approx node thing?

11 November 2007, 12:37 AM
You could use a smooth proxy to see what the smoothed version will look like as you're sculpting the shapes.

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11 November 2007, 12:37 AM
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