Rigging tutorials for the new system are still hard to come by but this page offers a ood example of driven shape keys (move one object to affect the shape of another) and a little insight into armatures (although its armature isn’t animated.)
This is the actual test file:
Click on the little round things in the geometrical shapes and move them a little to see the result in the face. Basically the head has had RVKs set and then each key has a driver added to it so that when this driver object is moved, it has a varying effect on the shape displacement. Hard to explain in words, not so hard to grasp with a bit of playing around. (Maybe you already know all this stuff)
There are some videos fromthe conference here:
One of these [46Mb] discusses the basics of armatures in the new system.
The animation forum here has gone quite dead in the last fortnight so hopefully some of the experts are busily writing tutorials for us Note that old armatures will open in the new system and take on the new features like shaded views and colour codings.
Now, whether to use RVKs or bones for facial animation. Hmmm, is Mac better than Windows or is Linux the only OS worth having? Basically, it’s a personal thing and it may be that a combination of bones and RVKs (much easier with the new driven keys system I believe) will give the best results.
One problem with RVKs is that you sup[posedly can’t edit the mesh after you’ve set them. So if you add a bunch of lip movements then decide you need an extra edge loop to make your character frown better, you will lose all your mouth settings when you add the loop (as I understand it). Although, I just added a loop to my guy and he kept his facial animations - so over to an expert on that one…
Some say that using bones for facial deformation gives you greater flexibility and control and with the new system you could move a bone and have it not only deform the vertices related to it (its vertex group) but also have it drive a shape key (RVK essentially). So you could move a mouth corner bone upward and have it raise the mouth corner as normal PLUS make the cheek fatter at the same time (as I understand it). Previously this would have required moving two or more bones or setting RVK(s) for this compound action.