Blender & facial mocap - How to?

Hi guys… I’m trying to figure out how to to accomplish a task, and I hope someone will be able to help me.

So, let’s say I import a bunch of empties moving in 3D space in blender - they’re taken from a Mocap software and represent markers places on key locations on an actor’s face… I already managed to get to this point, but I really have no idea how to animate a model of a face with those empties… I guess I’d need to parent them to specific points on my model… but I can’t parent in editmode (can I?)… I’m a bit confused… I know basic animation in blender, but this seems a big problem for me right now…

Any help will be really appreciated!



You can parent in editmode. First select the object you want to parent and then the mesh which contains the vertex you want to parent to. Then go into edit mode and select the proper vertex. Then you just parent with Ctrl-P.

What you also could do is make the empties targets of the IK Solver in an armature.

Thanks! I’m having some problems tho… I just tried parenting an empty to a vertex (and the opposite too)… but no matter what I do with the empty, the vertex remains still… I tried with a face too… Any suggestion? Thanks!

I’m sorry. I got it confused. You can parent an object to a vertex. Not the opposite.

Would suggest to use my second tip instead of setting up an armature with IK-solvers. By vertex painting the mesh you can control what vertexes moves with the armature which in turn moves by the empies.

You can use hooks…

Select the empty, shift-select the mesh.
Go into edit mode, select the vertex points you want effected by the empty.
Ctrl+H, “Add, To Selected Object”

Now when you go into object mode, the empty will act like a “hook” moving those vertex points around.

i am not sure if the hooks will do the job because they
have a circular deformation pattern if you use them with a falloff.

I guess what you need is actually a bone structure below the mesh
and the facial control points you created need to be linked to the bones.
because the bones are weight painted the deformation of the faces will
be much smoother and realistic.

I agree with cekuhnen. Hooks are the answer to your question, but as you probabley already know, when you pull on one part of you face, other parts of your face are effected. You will have a create quite an advanced facial rig, in order to make things move right.

Take a look-see here:

BUT then again, it depends how many points you have recorded. It could work…