Facial Animation when mesh is whole body - Maya

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  08 August 2014
Cool Facial Animation when mesh is whole body - Maya

Hi All-

Okay, so I'm fairly new to rigging, but not new to Maya. I do have questions about facial blend shapes and rigging. They should be simple for you.

1) I believe I need to create blend shapes BEFORE skinning my character. Correct?
2) The character model is one mesh, the head is not a separate mesh. Does this present any problems when I go to create (Facial) blend shapes?
3) I am planning to use blend shapes for the little dialogue I have to match. Should I be including any bones to work the lower jaw, or is blend shapes the way to go?

That's it - like I said, easy for someone who has rigged for awhile. Thanks!
  08 August 2014
quick and simple:

1: doesnt matter, but if you change the character mesh itself youll have to retarget the blendshapes ... can be easy but in some occasions its not. So be weary there.
Only thing you need to take care of is to set the blendshape as "front of chain" so the deformer node gets evaluated before the skin cluster.. otherwise it will override it.

2: Doesnt really matter either.. its better to work with "more" mesh than less, so you dont find yourself constrained to your facial cutout geo.
If you want to keep filesize small for whatever reason you could work on a head cutout, and wrap that to a blendshape target for the whole body. (one side note: since maya wrap deformer havent evolved since stoneage it doesnt have a paintable weightmap. But you can use the deformer set membership to isolate the head - which you have to do or the wrap will deform the entire body when the border edges of the head deform. OR you paint weights on that blendshape target .. Id suggest you do both things (set membership painting will also reduce performance impact from the wrap since it excludes the vertices from evaluation).

3. To be honest, whatever I can achieve with joints, Ill prefer to go for that rather than blendshapes. It can be slower depending on your setup, but its more flexible and editable and reusable than blendshapes. Obviously if you are getting a lot of art direction and a very specific look to go for, it would be better to do blendshapes since you can get specific shapes easier. But since the jaw is a sort of hinge joint Id prefer using a maya joint for that to preserve the rotational behavior (blendshape is just a vector, so its a linear transition from one state to the other - unless you use inbetweens.. which you could do, but its a little more compelx to set up)

thats it from my side I guess..
anything else, let us know

  08 August 2014
Thumbs up Awesome

Thanks, I honestly didn't expect to hear back from anyone so quickly!
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