Newbie on Facial Rigging...3ds max help.

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  01 January 2014
Newbie on Facial Rigging...3ds max help.

Hi everyone, how are you all?

I have been looking into on a particular way on how to rig a head for Facial movement and animation (motion capture primarily) using the Bones system.

I have decent knowledge on how to use and do basic rigging in 3ds max, but I was hoping to do something very much like this:

and this:

I have seen this and exact rigging systems been done for Maya, Blender and Softimage but Never for 3ds max, no-one seems to have done this exact kind of rigging for the software. In some examples as well (like in the YouTube video), the use of Dummies are used either in conjunction or not with the bones in the mesh.

My main problem is how do I got about making this exactly?

I have tried this many times with simple geo shapes and (stretchy) bones, but never could I get it skinned correctly due to the joints at the end of each bone, positioning them in the mesh or even know if I am doing it correct in the first place :(

I have looked everywhere and there are some who has done it but I have no idea how they started off with it (or got the knowledge to do so). I would really appreciate it if someone can on this matter or just give me some pointers on where to begin.

Look forward hearing from you wonderful lot!
  02 February 2014
There are some tutorials for facial rigging around. Have you seen this, for example?

Paul Neale also has some great tutorials on rigging, and if you contact him with a specific question he will often answer. I learned a large part of what I know about rigging directly from him.

If this isn't what you had in mind, give me a better idea of how far you are in your knowledge, and I'll see if I can help you find the right resource.
Michele Bousquet
CG Freelancer Magazine
  02 February 2014
Hey mbousquet!

Thanks for replying!

I have came across that tutsplus tutorial, and whilst it is good (and helpful for me) it only covers Head rigging from what I have been seeing and not facial rigging that I am particularly after.

I am also aware of Paul Neale's tutorials and I do think they are great, one in specific is his Facial Rig with Bones (as he demonstrated on a 3D model of an ogre. However that is abit out of my reach at the moment and not what I was after precisely, however it is good to know that he is responsive and helpful to any questions regarding this matter, I might email him when the time is right

To give you (and anyone else here) a better idea what I'm after, if I was to describe it better the type of Facial Rigging I am wanting to do is 'Joint-Based Facial Rigging'?
Like in my previous post, I want to do something akin to this:

and (more examples):

The thing is, tutorials of all sorts only exist for SoftImage, Blender and Maya (which Paul Neale has a video on) and I was really hoping to do those in 3ds max (with some realistic weighing implemented of course) before I would go on to do a more full-scale Bones system for face rigging.

Does this help by any chance? Thanks again anyways and hope to hear back!

P.S. Incase you've missed my video link in my original post:
  02 February 2014
I haven't tried creating this type of rig in 3ds Max, but I would imagine you could just set up a bunch of bones, create IK chains, and link dummy objects to them. Or am I missing something here?
Michele Bousquet
CG Freelancer Magazine
  02 February 2014
That's what I'm thinking, I'm pretty sure there is much more than what the eye can see, all of which is demonstrated in tutorials for other applications but (as I said before) none for 3ds max!

The weighing of the Bones to the surface of the mesh is what's troubling me :(

Any idea perhaps?
  02 February 2014
I think it's probably simpler than you think!

Just apply the Skin modifier to the mesh, and use the Weight Table to fine-tune the weights between bones.

Try it with a very simple mesh at first (like a rough sphere with the pole pushed in as the "mouth") and see if you can get some basic rigging going. Then take it from there.

After you figure it out (which I'm sure you will!) make a tutorial about it, and other people will go to it for information, and YOU will be the 3ds Max Bones Facial Rigging guy.

Simple as that
Michele Bousquet
CG Freelancer Magazine
  02 February 2014
Well funny enough I was practising this right now! Head mesh with bone!

The thing is, every time I make a Bone inside the mesh, add a Skin modifier to it and adding the (only) bone in parameters and editing the envelopes, it automatically selects the whole Head geometry (everything is in red)!

I have even tried to see if I could paint them out but no luck :(

P.S. Trust me, that Bone is INSIDE the head itself
  02 February 2014
The Skin modifier is trying to assign every vertex in the head to some bone. Since you only have one bone, it will assign all the vertices to it.

Try putting a second bone up the back of the head, sort of like a stick up the back of a puppet's head to control the skull itself. Assign both bones with the Skin modifier. Then you can pick and choose which vertices go with which bone. In this case, the majority of the head will go with the puppet stick bone, and a few facial vertices will go with the other one.

You will need to use the Weight Table to get the vertex weighting right. Look in the help for a full explanation.

I highly recommend you start with a much simpler mesh and experiment with that before working with a real head. The Weight Table is a lot easier to learn and use with 200 vertices than it is with 1000.
Michele Bousquet
CG Freelancer Magazine
  02 February 2014
Interestingly enough, this has somewhat worked! I have tried it on a simple Sphere geo and made two bones (one sticking up and the other at the side) and I can definitely see the two bones have their own weights on the mesh!

I suppose my next problem is, do I have the bones on a free-transform (i.e. Un-freeze the length)?

In regards to this, how many bones do I want to implement? Do I follow Softimage's way of placing the markers (or Bones)?

  02 February 2014
Quote: The thing is, tutorials of all sorts only exist for SoftImage, Blender and Maya (which Paul Neale has a video on) and I was really hoping to do those in 3ds max

Paul is one of the go to guys for rigging in MAX. As far as I know, almost all of his training material is based in Max not Maya. The facial rigging section of his intermediate training series covers the techniques you've described in great detail.

Good luck
  02 February 2014
The question of how many bones, etc. is up to you. You have the technique now, and you can start building and figure it out.

Facial bones are facial bones regardless of software, so if you find a good layout somewhere then I would recommend using that.
Michele Bousquet
CG Freelancer Magazine
  02 February 2014
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