Stop Staring 3. What do you want?


Hi, All!

I’m starting on Stop Staring, 3rd Edition in a few weeks. As with much of the 2nd edition, I’m going to leave a lot of theory discussion the same, as it still needs to stand all on it’s own as a resource, but I’m curious what people want updated/changed

  • It’s going to be approx the same length, so new content means replacing/shrinking old content; this means updating/replacing is the most likely form changes will take

  • It’s still going to be a face book; I’m not going into other areas

  • I’m going to update all tools to Python, and drop expressions as a topic altogether

  • I’m 60% sure I’ll be replacing the last chapter and it’s associated animations

What do you want? Lay it on me!


First of all I love your second edition book. Thanks for putting such nice stuff together.

For next version, I think it would be really cool to start off with some advance system using blendshapes. e.g. based on FACS. I think one of the most challenging things is to make individual action unit work together properly to create good shapes.

I would also like to see more on cartoony facial rigs.

I am really curious to see your take on a mixed system with joints being main skin deformers and blendshapes as a corrective or a parallel system.

I will highly prefer less repeatation from your second book. That way people who have second book won’t hesitate to buy the third book.


A chapter about FACS and its practical implementation and additional stuff about Facial muscles will be much appreciated.

Though it will be hard to top the 2nd edition which was one of the best 3D books I bought :wink:


Hi. I have only read the first edition so I wouldn’t know what the 2nd is like.
Why not bother with expression anymore?

One thing I’d presonally would like to understand is the approach to deal with displacement mapping and how to effectively set this up for an animated mesh. Dealing with intersection, disp maps for different part of the face all connected to ride on top of the “base displacement” much like what was answered concerning bump mapping in the 1st edition.

Also as theflash mentioned a more indepth on deformable cartoony rigs would be fun.

Perhaps I should go have a look in that second edition.
Keep up all the good work.


I want a good cup of joe with my muffin.
I want to be able to go back in time to correct all my mistakes.
I want to know how to make money fall from the sky instead of burgers.

How’s that for starters :stuck_out_tongue: ?

Yo Jason, good luck on your next installment.



Id be wary as to introducing FACs, its a massive manual around 560 pages, with 60 action units and all there combination at intensities going from a (slight) to e (extreme) - its not for the faint hearted. Plus the fact that its copyrighted material entitling you to one hand copy only.

What would be awesome is correctives - firstly how to build them. How they get fired by other shapes, (linearly, quadratic, slow-in.out etc) and how there order is crucial in rebuilding them. eg.

A + B (order 0) - base shapes
= C (order 1) - first corrective
C +A - base + corrective
=D (order 2) second corrective

The rule being you have to rebuild them low to high order, this is crucial in face pipelines. As the base shapes may change at any time be it via bones or morphs. Plus storing the absolute of the corrective is very important.

Driving normal/disp maps is a good one too.

Possibly techniques for on face controls, and how there can drive other on face controls - eg. left smile control, right smile control, overalSmile control (drives the other two)

  • c


I guess if some theory and examples of how action units work together are explained it would be nice. Not exactly Paul Ekman’s system, but something simpler and similar to that idea would be good enough for this book.


I would love a section that helps explain how to get secondary controls to work with blendshapes, so you can push a pose even further.

When explaining your tools, I was honestly lost, not sure if its just me or the way the stuff is written, but your scripts scare the hell out of me and I don’t know how to use half of them. I stick to the control maker and the prep shapes ones, the others I honestly have no idea what they do, even after reading the sections that discusses them.

And what the heck is/are FACS?


Hi Jason

  1-I would love to see a chapter dedicated to secondary controls that works and follows the blendshapes deformations..Like in this demo of Denislav Georgiev
  2-Also a chapter of automatic secondary motion like mass jiggling result of fast and hard movements, the wind, etc.
  3-And i also will like to suggest a chapter dedicated to FACS.
  4-Skind sliding over in this example made in XSI by rmawatson from XSIBASE.


5-Cornea bulge sliding under the eyelids.

  6-Some way to reaply all the work to a different head with diferent shape and topology, like in this tutorial for XSI by [/size]Paul Smith.


A section of how to hook up corrective blendshapes would be awesome. A script I was using has you hook it into joint rotations, but I found out very quickly why that is a bad idea.


Hi Jason,

first of all, thanks for an unbelievable resource for facial rigging, this once opened my eyes on how facial setup could really be done! still using quite a lot of concepts from your book, it was extremely helpful.

i would love to see all the modeling-part stripped; not many riggers will model themselves these days; instead, need more focus on : 1. major topology requirements; 2. areas that must be doublechecked when preparing for rigging -e.g., my list would start with checking lip corners/inner shape to make sure it’s rounded, not flat, and eyelid topology - is closing the eye possible? also, more general guidelines for tooth size/position, topology between eyebrows, summary of a must-have topology for creases of smile fold, squint wrinkles, etc… should be like a checklist for a modeler before submitting a model/ rigger upon receiving it and requesting for changes.

what we find in our studio most challenging is making lips and eyes believable - the rest of the face doesn’t even matter if those do not work well.

lips still lack some fake for softiness effect (it never feels like upper lip is touching lower lip). animators play quite a lot with second-layer controls (face points) to adjust them in closeups.

our fleshy eye setup is still pretty mechanic, would like to see some more ideas on that. we use a complicated blend of forward-up-down-inward-outward shapes for each stage of the eye - neutral, neutral+squint, closed, closed+squint, wide open. Controlling long eyelashes is an issue too (making them look good when eyes are closed and not penetrate eyebrow mass with eyes wide open/view direction up). we also had to throw away upper eyelid/lower eyelid concept and work with eye open-eye closed as a base, adding overlay of upper/lower lid: this allowed achieving easier watertight blinks/closed eyes at any eye pose, even with a squint blended in.

other “latest fashion” tricks would be nice - switching between closed mouth/open mouth when jaw is moving (chewing vs talking); better sticky lips solution (soft mod one just doesn’t cut it). “face points” is mandatory these days as well; two-layer face points system would even be greater (smaller detail face points act on top of bigger detail face points).

Good luck with our book, i’m definitely buying that one!


I want to pre-order. NOW!

But seriously, it would be great if the content on the CD was made more accessible to those not using Maya. I was able to work through the 2nd edition just fine using Softimage, but it would have been easier if all the blendshapes were available as .OBJ files on the CD instead of just Maya scenes. A video of the final rig in action, showing which sliders affected which shapes would have also helped.


This stuff is all great, thank you! Anyone else, keep posting!

The corrective stuff is great feedback because, well, that’s already in there and the solution is really solid and effective! I refer to them in the book as fix shapes in the text - I will have to revisit the wording to make that clearer. Facs will unfortunately not be a good idea, as I can’t cover enough to make sense without violating copyright, but only touching on it as a reference point won’t leave the book standalone, which is a big requirement.

On the modeling comments; I need to keep that in there, at least in spirit, because it does actually go on and on about why topology is what it is (which is kind of the second part of the modeling-for-rigging comment), but I can certainly revisit the wording to make it feel more like a discussion on what is and is not “stuff to watch for”. Also, I’m figuring out how many/what type of models to add; that could help that area out.

Secondary controls are a definite.

Sticky lips. Damn, you. Wanted to keep the simple-but-not-great solution, as it can turn into a real nightmare of writing to go farther. Alright, you probably win. :wink:


hi Jason! I bought your 2nd Edition and I surely learned a lot! :smiley:
I was thinking could you tackle about joint facial rigging? or a combination of
joint-blendshape technique?


Hey Jason! Like everyone else, I love the book. In fact, I picked it up somewhat recently and am finishing up working through it at the moment.

I admit I got a little hung up during the interfaces section in understanding the control network that’s generated. I understand how to use it with the other scripts in the book, but I really would love more information on the nodes that are being generated and what their purposes are. Maybe it was just that the particular language used to describe that section didn’t quite click with me, but if I needed to customize that setup I don’t think I could pull it off quickly as I’m not totally clear on what everything is doing and how to hook controls into it manually. If you have any tips in the meantime on how to wrap my head around it a little more, I’m all ears ;).

I’ll also put my vote for secondary controls. I’ve seen some great lip and brow controls layered over blendshapes that I’d love to learn how to implement.

BTW, I’m really excited to hear that the scripts will be in Python soon! I made the switch about 6 months ago and now find myself getting really frustrated every time I have to use or read MEL, so I’m excited to browse through the new goodies.

So chalk me up for a preorder. Thanks again for all the great info thus far, and looking forward to even more!


it would be nice if you could do some scripting section for 3dsmax like u did with the automation with maya(like automatic scripting to create the ui and linking all the stuff).

looking forward to see version3. i got version 1 and totally love it . i think ive read it throught about 8 times


Reading the first edition (yes, it probably bugs you that I’m looking thru old material, but it was 10 bucks).
Thanks for writing it! I am learning a lot from it! thank you!



I would like to see something that would help the face to feel more fleshy/muscular with blendshapes.
I use the half-shapes you introduced in the book and thats a good thing, but not perfect. Lets say a jawOpen-shape, a way to make that look a bit more fleshy and opening in kind of an arc … don´t really know HOW that would be setup considering how blendshapes work but that´s something for you Jason :wink:

Also maybe a tiny bit more about techniques for creating shapes in an easy way. Would be helpful, but its really not too important so maybe 1-3 pages max.

Other than that … can´t really think of too much. The second edition is just awesome, pure gold.

Oh … one more thing for 3rd editon. A new shelf with lots of good stuff :stuck_out_tongue:



I don’t know if it’s been mentioned here or not but I would enjoy a little section on how to make “sticky” lips.


Check out the current edition (2) - it’s in there :thumbsup: