facial animation setup?


hmm… these tutorials and plugins I think is not concerned to what facial rigging style is all about. I mean the tutorial was only about bulge rig… I needed this style of facial rigging tutorial… pls… if anyone could…


Is this what you are trying to do?


If so I refer to my earlier post, you have to work out the rest. If that is no help then go here.



I am having some problems with getting vertices to deform in the manner in which they have been laid out. I have set the vertices up so that edge loops go around the mouth, however when they are applied to the bones in the facial rig they are distorted for some reason.

I hope the attached image shows what I’m refering too, can anyone help.

I have tried to set up the skin to deform while the mouth opens and closes and have achieved a workable setup and I have set up the skin to deform for a mouth wide and bottom lip down, but I can not get all of those expressions.

I’m wondering if the layout of the loops is just too rough or is that the layout is just too detailed (too many poly’s round the lip area).

I’ll leave it at that at the moment and answer any questions that may clarify the situation later.


DogBreath, this is just due to poor skinning, you will need to adjust the skinning using blend weights or just more paint weights to get what you are looking for. Since this bone layout looks a whole lot like what I did in my forth DVD have a look at the ogre character, turn on skin and select some of the joints around the mouth and you can see how the skinning looks. Compare that to what you have.


Thanks Paul, you are right, I tightened up the weight of the other verts and got a more acurate mouth shape, however I’m still not happy with it. I did the weights manually because the paint weight tool would not work (not sure why). I think I need to do this with a simpler model to learn this and then progress from there.

I do have one other question if you don’t mind. Does the size (in max units) make any difference to the results of these procedures, the head I have been using is 85 units tall?


Size should not affect what you are doing but if you have scaled it it will cause major problems. Make sure that you use the reset X forms tool in the tools panel to correct this. The over all scale of the character does mater in the larger scale of things how ever. There is a limit to the 3D universe and as you get further from the center acuracy drops. Also if you go to run sims like cloth the values will all be out of wack. Your whole character should be around 85 units tall for a normal human type.



During my upcoming 2nd year at University I’ll have limited access to an optical motion capture studio. I’m hoping to learn how to set up a facial rig to apply motion capture, but only have experience with modelling, rigging and keyframe animation on bipeds and am unsure where to start. I’ll be using XSI and Motion Builder and it would be a massive help if someone could give me an idea of the process I need to be looking into.

Will I need to create a rig for the head I’ve modelled in XSI and import it to Motion Builder or am I able to import the model immediately and create a rig in Motion Builder?

Is there a best method of creating facial rigs for use with motion capture data?

I’ve managed to get some sample mocap data from my uni in .trc format and have imported that into MB, but so far haven’t been able to work out how to solve it to the XSI sample rigged head that I’m currently using to experiment.

I realise I’m out of my depth here, but I have plenty of time to work on this and am really hoping I can do it! Any advice at all would be much appreciated.


Any one have suggestions for animating the jaw? I have linked my teeth and gums to a dummy which is has its rotation wired to a morph target of the face. This method is working, however I cannot key the value of the morph target. I am able to animate all other target except the one that is wired to the jaw. I have another thread with pictures.



Hi Ekk, congratulations!, you did a really great work!. I wonder if there is a max file to see, how it is made, most of links of this thread are dead because they seem to be very old. I´d really appreciate if you could upload some example of your facial system. It reminds me to the end credits of The Pixar Story and some Stuff on DVD extras from The Incredibles, really great man!.

How do you recreate a Path constraint with expression controllers?, how do you make an object to follow a spline? Thank you for sharing man!


the facial animation rigging is so complicated.I know 2 kinds of way to do that .one is using the morpher systems and the other is the bones.i prefer the latter.but the problem is when i study the latter way of rigging i find it’s needs a lot of max scripts.and the version9 of the max i use is different from the version7 of the max the tutors use.so there are some tiny difference between the 2 version of max in their setting tools.That’s made me upset.Any one can give me a simply and high effectively way of making the facial aniamtion?thanks a lot!


morph, bone and subsets of these types of usage that are so integrally different that they warrant their own classification…


  • bones driving the mesh directly via internal chains,
  • bones driving the mesh via their constraint to curves
  • bones driving the mesh via a FACS based array on the exterior surface, like a mask

An example of the last one is here: http://research.animationsinstitut.de/16.0.html

Each bring advantages and disadvantages, and there are many hybrids, also with morphs and curve solutions.


hello all
i’m developing a new facial system for maya
u can find the pictures and idea behind it here:
and it’s steel under development
if you have idea please email me at ali@cgfx3d.com


Hi everybody!
First of all, this is a copy of my thread about facialRigging I’ve started here.

Some time ago I started a research about facial rigging based on bones to apply to my japanese model, and at the same time, to try to develop a autorig version of the rig.
Now I’ve finished my investigations about mixing facial bone system & stickyLips. My starting point was to try to make another approach to classical stickyLip system where the effect only affects to line between the two lips.
With my approach, if the stickiness is on, the movement of the upper lip affects to lower lip and viceversa.

StickyLipsTest on Vimeo.

C&C are wellcome!


Hi guys Im new to Xsi and Im trying to create a facial rig using clusters. can anyone please post some links for to tutorials to do this or advise how i can go about making this in Xsi.

Thanks in advance for your help



CSS Maya,

Are you using any sort of corrective blendshapes or weight space - intrigued by your system.


well, hi everybody and sorry in advance for my english

Im trying to attach the 3 hairs of the eyebrow to the mesh so they move together, but the mesh move with blend shape and for some reason I don t get do not get attach, I already try with cluster

ah, Im using maya, here is a pic with the area encircle



ok, problem solved, thanks anyway to anyone interested in answer the question

CSS Maya,
 Are you using any sort of corrective blendshapes or weight space - intrigued by your system.

Hi eek
well, first visit HERE and download my curveAnim MEL script.
The idea was to develop a system like yours in maya. I had done this by creating several curves on mesh, then choosing them by script and creating a duplicate of them. two more curves will be created by script one in spherical and one in cubic shape. the sphere will be parented under the cube. your original curve on mesh and it’s duplicate will be geometry constraints for these two shapes. now if you want you can create slide based GUI and use the cube to set driven key the place, and on top of it , animator has the ability to animate the spherical shape by hand on top of set driven key.
now , this can be done on a copy mesh of your face, and this can be one of blend targets that is weight 1 always, this way you can combine this method on top of blendshapes to break the linear deformation of blend node :smiley:
but still I’m waiting for your Maya version of your method to be finalized :smiley:


can anyone show me how to do facial animation and riggin in max?


can anyone show me how to do facial animation and riggin in max?

Check out Paul Neals facial animation DVD on cg academy, well worth the money.