Hybrid controls using skinned joints and blend shapes?

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  12 December 2012
Hybrid controls using skinned joints and blend shapes?

Alright, I've got a question. I have this TD task from school that I need finishing, but it's kinda hard to decipher what the teacher really wants, and I'm not patient enough to wait until the next lesson to finish it.

Basically, thus far in this task, we've taken a character mesh, given him a basic rigging and skinned it, then added a few blend shapes for rudimentary lip sync (mouth open, closed, narrow and wide).
The next part to do is, and this is a direct quote from the task page:

"Make a copy of the body of the character, where the mouth is controlled by cluster-like controllers (which in reality is controlled by joints). Then connect this copy with the base mesh."

The first part of this is clear as glass. Make joints around the mouth to further control the mimicry of the character. When I asked him about the next part of the task, he also said: "The controllers you make on the new copy should also be affected by your lip sync blend shapes." Now that sent me right into confusion.

Firstly, how do one make the second copy affect the the original mesh? Do I add a second blend shape node to it somehow, or append this copy as a new blend shape within the already existing blend shape node, that is always on and getting animated that way?

And how would I be able to make this 'copy characters' mouth controllers be affected by the blend shapes on the original mesh without creating inter-dependencies, once it's connected to the first mesh? Is it just about driving the controllers locations with driven keys to make them follow the blend shapes without getting any weird inter-dependencies, or is there a less manual/more exact way of setting that up?
  12 December 2012
You guessed correct. Have the duplicate mesh rigged with joints and apply as BS to the original mesh. The top group of the ctrl for this joints should follow the lip sync shape of the original mesh. This you do by attaching the ctrl's top group to the original mesh vertex by rivet or point on surface method.
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  12 December 2012
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