What is FACS and why would I use it?

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  02 February 2017
What is FACS and why would I use it?

I'm looking at trying to extend my skill set to include character rigging and animation. I've done some work with bodies before, but never anything involving any kind of facial animation.

While I've been trying to read up on this stuff, I've noticed a pattern. There seems to be an awful lot of custom rigs out there (which all more or less do the same thing), but as the content becomes more modern, I keep seeing the same general control setup over and over again. It's the one with the angled sliders scattered around the face, which I believe represent some sort of muscle-level control over the facial expressions. Disney has stuff that uses it, Dreamsworks has stuff that uses it, a couple of well known pre-rendered cinematic game trailer studios use it, etc.

So... my questions are:

1) Is this FACS?

2) If it is, why is everyone starting to use it? Is it because it works better for motion capture, or is it easier for the animators, or both?

3) Does anyone know of any decent resources for reading up on how to implement FACS based rigs? I've already purchased a copy of Stop Staring, which was good, but it doesn't really deal with FACS specifically.

  03 March 2017
1.) Nope. FACS is "Facial Action Coding System". It creates sort a database for facial muscle contrations and tries to connect them to emotions. So while the facial rigs you describe may lead to results appliable for coding under the FACS facial rigs are not FACS in themselves.

2.) Because currently there is nothing else but FACS. Think of it as a framework for the administration of facial animation.

3.) Stop Staring is for facial rigging. You should invest some money in the books of Paul Ekman, who is the pioneeer of FACS. Rather useful things in there.

Have fun
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