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.