Armatures - Face & Body separate???

I’m making a generic character for animation practice and need some advice.

Most facial animation will be done with RVK but I want to do eyelids and jawbone with bones so I can get a curving action. I assume I would create one simple armature to cover the facial movements and a separate armature for the bodily movements? If so, is it wise to make the eyes part of the head armature setup or the main body armature as is often done - or doesn’t it matter?

Here’s the guy in question:

All suggestions welcome…

If your armature is well structure you shouldn’t need to ask yourself such questions.
See if all bones of the face are children of the main bone of the head, everything will work ok. Then the bone of the head is child of the neck, which is child of the spine, which is child of the Root bone. So if your Character move the back, then the spine is moving, the neck is moving, the head is moving and the mouth and eyelid will follow.

I see, I think. I assumed that it might be easier to keep them separate but I guess if they’re all one armature they move together as you say. Perhaps I’ll keep the bones on separate layers to simplify animation processes?

At this stage I have no armature at all and will either use Nozzy’s rig (with added bones for face) or build one from scratch and work it all out as I go.

I’ve used RVK now for basic jaw movement for speech so that each phoneme has the right movement built-in, otherwise it would be difficult to make a simple speech pattern since I would have to animate the mouth and jaw separately. I’ll use a jaw bone for major movement like yawning and shouting etc.

I think :-?

I am curious about RVK for mouth movement. can you combine different meshes with RVK’s and animated them together? Also can animate bones with RVKS? This will help out with my fish I think. Thanks in advance!

Andy, always use one armature. Better than using layers is to hide the ‘skeletal’ bones (the ones that have vert groups assigned) after you’re done setting weights etc and leave only the IK Solver bones visible. Look at Nozzy’s “SkinnyGuyJump” rig.


Thanks Fligh, I can see now how it m,akes sense. I have a version of Nozzy’s rig - I thought he’d layered the bones and hidden the layer but now you mention it, I think they are hidden bones. Also mkae sense.

Womball: RVKs are for storing a collection of deformations of a mesh. So in short, you move save a base mesh then move a part (mouth, eyebrow, whatever) and store that. Then you go back to the base mesh then move a different part then store that. Each change is stored as a key and the moved vertices are stored “RELATIVE” to the base mesh (hence "Relative Vertex Keys).

Each key can then be placed on a timeline and given a weight via a slider. So, if you have a key with mouth open, you can set the slider half way and the mouth will open half way and a key will be set at that point. Move the timeline forward, save a key with mouth open set to zero and the mouth will return to the base mesh position. You can set anumber of keys at one point and each deformation will occur together. So you can open mouth and blink at the same time using multiple keys. If two keys compete for the same vertices, Blender averages out the deformations at those points.

There is a pretty good RVK tutorial in the blender docs plus a few good ones right here on elysiun.

I have read those tutorials on RVks, but they don’t address keying multiple objects under one control.

Sometime you’re going to have to accept the fact that Blender is Object Oriented:


So basically your just saying that I am going to not be able to do that? I’m aware of what OOP is.

What I’m saying is you’re not going to find one button somewhere that’ll do that since the nifty trick of OOP is assigning each object it’s own unique block of data that isolates it from all other objects. The same data may be copied (among multiple objects) or linked to, but, if you want that to happen you have to be creative in finding ways to do it. The program is set up to isolate objects and their data.

Anyhow, that being said, the 2.4 series’ animation tools are being designed to overcome some of the limitations of OOP with the dependancy system, the modifier stack and even the kind of intra/inter object tool you’re looking for with Driver IPO’s. But, still, they’re set up so that you have to tinker them together from scratch, they’re not buttons that you can drag and drop objects into.