facial animation setup?



Thankyou, I just really like working stuff out. I need to put it all together, my rigs,setups etc, this weekend. And all hopefully towards a new short film!

I’ll keep the updates coming.


I guess this was one of the posts that got lost in the infamous server crash of 2002. As I had mentioned in my previous post (which was lost) I hope Eek doesn’t mind but I took his posted Max file and did my best to recreate it in Maya 4.5. It was a lot of fun cranking away on his setup and I think I’ve got something that works pretty good in Maya 4.5 (with very similar functionality). If anyone is interested, feel free to email me and I’ll send you a copy of the file (I don’t have webspace right now to d/l it from). Merry Christmas!!

Matt Leishman


de ja vue!!

So im replying to a thread, i posted 2 weeks ago? errr confusing!

Anyway sith, thankyou for making the rig in maya. Im so busy with work, but next week finish for christmas hooray!I dont mind you making the rig as i generally stick to xsi and max. I’ll be working on the rig and loads of other stuff for my new short!

Keep in touch, and keep on learning.


p.s (what happened to the server???)


hey I would love to take a look at taht rig, can could probably even scroung eup some webspace for it depeniding on size…

Let me know please cause this is very interesting to me.

Good work both of you


Has anyone tried this setup in Maya yet?

How would you go about using the Locators to deform the face?
As influence objects to the skinCluster?
Or maybe as just regular Clusters?

I was really looking foward to dissecting the Maya rig once it was put together…

Looks like a great setup!



Sith(Matt) has made a great conversion:thumbsup: , of my rig to maya. I’ll keep developing it, through to max 5 and xsi.

Anyway have a great christmas people, a keep up the good work!

updates will keep coming!..


hey man this is a really great setup…just wanted to say thanks for sharing this technique and knowledge…

I hate using morphs and bones and was just getting the idea to create something similar when I saw your post…saves me alot of leg work;)
thanks man!



I’m currently writing a tutorial on the bare bones basics of setting up eeks face rig in maya. Hopefully it won’t take me more than another week. Until then though, the locators themselves are spots on the geometry that clusters are parented to so that when you move them, the clusters, and subsequently the geometry points being controlled by the clusters get deformed, but there is also an added degree of muscle deformation that is setup through the cheek locators. The locators at the sides of the mouth are constrained to the cheek locators but not with a constraint value of 1. Its a little heavy to explain here, but hopefully my .pdf tutorial will help explain it better once its done.

Matt (sithwarlord)


It would be nice to see how your XSI conversion made it. Any ideas on when you will get the time to do it?

best regards

.stefan andersson



I couldn’t be sure if you were talking to me, or Eek. I unfortunately do not ever plan on porting it over to Xsi. At one point Eek said he may do that, I can’t be sure if that is still his plan, best you ask him. Sorry man.



Hey StefanA,

I’ll start doing the xsi conversion this week, and finish it off in the new year.It’ll be virtually exact as the max/maya version, spline, clusters, constraints and points. I’ll add a pdf version with the max/xs version.

Im so please that so many people are intrested in the rig, and have taken it further into new software. I started it because i was annoyed with facial animation setups, morphs, bones and even blend shapes didnt really work.

Thanks again(especially matt for doing the maya conversion)

updates will keep coming…



any chance that the maya 4.5 version can be made to work with maya 4.0 ???


I had a mel script for maya 4 that would take a maya 4 file and convert it to a maya 3 ascii file (I got from highend3d), but I don’t have the time to make it work for maya 4.5 to maya 4 right now. I would have to just recreate it in maya 4, and unfortunately I won’t have time for that until the first or second week in the new year. sorry womanonfire, if you can wait then I’d be happy to do it in 4.0 in the new year.



i’ ve just replied to be so sure to receive a email with replies, am very interested in this, kuz i think making morphtargets it so project dependent, don’t like that at all


I find morph modifiers incredibly flaky especially in max 4. Bones seem also unreliable and are conrstrained along a rotation or ik handle. Also morph as you say PIXAR there completely project dependent.

Ive been inspired recently by Golum from Lord of the rings, so im gunna give it a go at putting my rig in a character ooow!! with a complete new body rig!!

updates coming…



I’ve been watching your development on this facial rig for a while, eek. It just fascinates me! I’ve never been called on to rig a face before, and what little facial animation I’ve done has left me dissatisfied with Max’s morpher, to say the least. I’d be very interested to see your facial rig working on a full character model, as the deformation on the simple low-res “mask” just seems to good to be true!

My only issue with your rig is that I would prefer grabbing handles in the viewport over fiddling with sliders, especially since there are so many controls. I hate scrolling through rollouts and such. Actually, my ideal situation would be to have a hardware-based solution like a fader console, set up to drive the facial controls. That would be sweeeeet (especially in conjunction with the mocap utility!) :thumbsup:


Hey LFShade, the rigs got 2 versions on with sliders one with not. I put sliders in because max’s path constraints very flaky and i was getting snapping to either 100 pecent or 0!! very annoying. Im gunna build a head over the next few days and put the rig in it. Also start on the XSI version. The xsi version will be stable without slider! Also the max version now relys on a skin modifier and not linked Xforms, so it doesnt have to look up the stack all the time for about 30 linked Xforms!!

Ive been thinking about the mocap idea, for the past few days, dont know how to implement it but will based on referencing video clips- somehow?



Hey all!

I’ve been using Max since version 1.2… but have never attempted detailed facial animation like what you guys are wanting to do… nor do I think I ever will… but I find your technique very interesting to say the least. Thanks for posting the max files. I’m looking forward to seeing your hard work in action.

Keep up the unselfish, very appreciated work!



little update: First inclings of the gollem rig!!..Im gunna try implement so facial mocap system into it somehow?



damn damn, that looks good man, can’t wait to see this fully in action