View Full Version : Bones for facial animation?

05 May 2003, 07:17 PM
Has anyone here used bones for facial animation? I'm just wondering how effective and or easy it is in doing this. The PMG site makes it seem like a snap, but I've yet to be able to get a functional setup. Maybe others could offer some advice on how to do this.

Up until this point I've been using poses. But they've been a real pain to manage and if the director wants changes to the character model, I have to alter each pose identically as well. Not very practical in my experience.

My other gripe with facial bones is that if you accidentally click on a parent bone in setup, all of the children bones snap back and reconnect to the parent bone. And since you can't undo this, you're left to reposition each bone back into its place.


05 May 2003, 07:53 PM
HI Dragonfollower,

Mentioned this in a reply to your "Eurrgh" post, but just make sure the "align z to parent length" is unchecked for the bones that you have offset on Z.


05 May 2003, 06:43 PM
So can you offer any tips on getting a workable facial animation setup? I'm trying to use muscle bones with flexmotion, but this method has given me nothing but problems.


05 May 2003, 07:26 PM

I tried Flexmotion in the face, but found it more trouble than it is worth. Save flexmotion for tails, trunks and tentacles.

Have a look at some of the sample rigs, particularly Tia and the Ron Wolfe facial Setup (which if it isn't on the CD can be found in the files section of the yahoo group) and employed the techniques they used. Tia is particularly good.

Keep the expressions simple, the most you'll need will be "move to", "target" and occasionally "align". Remember to place bones to hold the geometry that you don't need to move. Some muscle expressions will be necessary, but probably not so many as you might think. My first few face rigs relied heavily on them, and didn't work so well, but the target expression is a lifesaver, particularly on the corners of the mouth and eyelids.

It helps to keep eyes and teeth/tongue as seperate objects, parent them to the head root, and/or control Nulls, that way they don't get grabbed by the eyelid/cheek bones and the lip bones.
Once you've got the main bones in, keep playing and tweaking until it starts looking right. When you're happy, set up some sliders and start animating.

Sounds easy, doesn't it? Wish it was. My first working face rig took quite a while to figure out. Very rewarding when it works though.

Hope that helps.


05 May 2003, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the advice, I'll check out the models.


05 May 2003, 01:01 AM
You're welcome, hope it works out well for you.


CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 03:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.