AJ - Mouth Rig (100% Armature)

Latest Blend File:

Latest Blend File w/ update to body/hand rig:

Here is a LipSync Experiment:
QuickTime File: http://dominomf.com/smcfiles/kngcalvn_Untitled2.mov
Blend File: http://dominomf.com/smcfiles/kngcalvn_140.blend

After seeing the proog rig (Elephants Dream) I’ve decided to try to rig my own mouth.


Every single grey bone is moveable… try moving every single one. :slight_smile:
Any Suggestions/Comments are welcome.

Very cool! I enjoyed fooling around with it - seems pretty flexible! Everything is great except it’s a little difficult to create smaller mouth positions. I was trying to make an Ooo sound/mouth-shape and was having a little difficulty.

Great job, though! I love that character! :slight_smile:


Why Thank you, effstops.

I was trying to make an Ooo sound/mouth-shape and was having a little difficulty.


That true… but I “un-hided” some of the bones so you can actually see what the grey bones do. Should be easier to form shapes now.

So pretty much you need to bring the IK.L.001 and IK.R.001 close in the center… and move them forward a bit from the side view, because they go inside the teeth.

I’m curious why you decided to use all bones instead of a ipo driven shape key bone setup?

The only reason why I would use a shapekey would be because I cannot accomplish the same task with armature. If you can get something to work with Armature you have far more control while animating.

My goal is to try create a mouth rig which would allow me to do lip-sync.

Update: http://www.blenderprojects.com/calvin/victest7.blend

Thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:

I got a few characters whose mouths were done using bones, but not in this way. I’ve got to say that this way seems to be better, as with the other way, I’ve had a few cases where things were not deforming at all, or deforming in bad ways.


What a truly impressive use of armatures for facial rigging. Not seen this approach before.

I always associated facial rigs with shape keys/morph targets, but this way seems to offer quite a bit more dynamicism for expressions. :smiley:

I will be looking at how this is put together very carefully… very carefully indeed. :slight_smile:

Is there a blend file for this? Also how are you weight painting the face? The IK targets look like they are almost in the right positions of where the muscles attach. I keep hearing that bones are more flexible, why? Do they allow easier animation arcs? Btw you may want to learn the names of the muscles. This would be an ideal way of naming the Ik targets.

I was going to rig the cheeks… but then decided that the movement was so simple that it would save time to simply create shapekeys and make the exisiting IK bones act as the drivers, when a bone approaches a certian location.


Also how are you weight painting the face?

I’m not using weight paint, just Assigning the vertices to bones at 1.00. Key is to get rid of all the unneeded vertices. It’s suprising what you can get with subsurf.

I keep hearing that bones are more flexible, why?

When you create shape keys you don’t have that much control as in tweaking that “o” shapekey when the character is surprised for example… you have to create a new shapekey (or combine then with others) But if you are able to achieve these shapes with armature, you can easily tweak the shape around, as your character goes under different moods.


I really like the ‘semi-realistic/cartoon’ style of this guy :slight_smile:

Are you going to model a girlfriend for him ? :smiley:

The mouth rigging is very nice, from a user endpoint, can you explain why you decided to use so many bones / IK constraints, etc?

Is the IK just to cut down on having to move so many bones?


Alot of it has to do with the IKJaw Bone. The two IK bones on the side corners are effected by the Jaw bone, the bottom IK bone is effected by the Jaw bone. Also the bottom IK bone grabs onto the ends of the two chains.

And then we have the four other IK bones which help adjust the shape.

ALSO, if you look into the edit mode you’ll notice that all those yellow bones have a duplicate which copies the location of and stretches to the next bone. The reason behind this is that the Stretch within the bones not only effect the bone but also scales the vertices. These duplciates don’t have the “stretch” input, but use the stretch to constriant. The vertices are assigned to these bones and they don’t scale BUT only stretch when the yellow bones stretch.

Back to the Jaw, the two IK bones on the side, are not the REAL IK bones. These are the bones that the real IK bones (switch are hidden) copy 50% location of. The reason behind this is that I didn’t want the Jaw bone to be the 100% parent, I want it to sort of pull on them.

Hmm, I’ll have to take a closer look at that, before I can even ask any questions :slight_smile:

Btw, are you using 2.41 ? … or something newer ? … If you use 2.42 it has a nice feature of bone ‘layers’ to hide/display bones.

Oh, and why are you using a seperate Armature for the eyelids?


Yes I am using 2.42… but before posting the file I go into 2.41 and hide the bones which are actually in a different layer since most peoples don’t have 2.42 yet and I don’t want to freak anyone out… :smiley:

Oh, and why are you using a seperate Armature for the eyelids?

Just ignore that for now.

I did something similar in max some time ago not as advanced though, this is nice the only difference is that the initial mouth bones were easy to place in max as all that was necessary was copying an edgeloop from the mouth and converting to bones but I will try this in blender again though, thanks

Do you have any plans to rig the eye area and lids this way?

I was going to, but since I’m rigging this character for a movie we are working on, at blenderprojects and since we don’t need this kind of control in the eye area, I’m going to resort to shapekeys. But I might do it later.

Yea, that would’ve been easier. But to place my bones I simply snapped my bones to the vertices.

BTW, Here is a minor update:
not to the mouth rig itself, but to the neck and head bone.

I’m curious what you changed.

I noticed in the previous versions, that if I rotated the neck or head from a side view that the bones were not rotating in one plane, or it seemed like they were “IK hunting”. At first I thought maybe it was the track-to the eye target influencing the head?


The duplicates I talked about in post 11, were not parented. So even though they did copy the location/stretch to next bone, their rotation remained the same. When you rotate the head, the mouth moves around a bit, so after hours sitting trying to figure out what the heck was wrong, I finally figured it out “Parent the duplicates to the head.” :smiley:

BTW, Here is the latest file: http://www.blenderprojects.com/calvin/victest8e.blend

I usally wait for a reply, to reply back to before posting a update… after waiting a day decided to go ahead and post anyways.
Been experimenting with cheek shapekeys…

I’ve also updated the body with modified rig stolen from “ludwig” posted by sketchy.

Just incase you guys were wondering this is a character for an open short film we are workin on at http://www.blenderprojects.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=27 any further updates of this character will be posted there.

Nice job with the body mesh !

Did you create the body-mesh from scratch? … or modify Ludwig’s mesh?

There is a problem with the interaction of the brows and the eyelids. The eyelids, especially the left one for some reason, are tearing over the eyeball, with even only moderately “down positions” of the eyebrows.

Great work ! Keep it up !

And THANK YOU for sharing this !!!