Custom shape keys

Hi I have seen some tutorials online about shape keys but I could not find a well-explained shape key tutorial (that is up to date), does anyone know of any? And yes I have tried googling and searching for a thread but I was unable to find any that explain it from start to end and demonstrate how they work a little.

Also I have tried to use them with rigify (generate button) and it bundles them all in the middle so it won’t assign the shape keys to their respective bones, any idea how to fix that? (I was looking my “Introducing character animation with blender” by Tony Mullen).

Any help would be appreciated!

[ I’ve posted this many times and I keep singing his praises, so I hope he doesn’t think I have a thing for him :slight_smile: ]

David Ward has a terrific tutorial series on creating a Tim Burton style character:
Parts 15 and 16 cover shape keys and shape key drivers which should help you.

Do you know by any chance why do all the shape keys pile in the middle and won’t go to their assigned bones when I press generate?

Are you talking about shape keys or custom bone shapes?

Sounds like you’re talking about custom bone shapes. Rigify generates its own shapes, so are you trying to replace those with your own?

I think what I am trying to do (and I am not calling it correctly) is to make something like this:
So I guess it is the custom bone shapes… therefore yes I would like to replace the generated rigify shapes with my own if possible (because I have discovered that armature deform doesn’t work all that great for me, and rigify generates a rig that works very smoothly) so is there a way to edit that riggify rig or do you suggest that I make my own and copy the weight paint?

I apologize if you are not able to understand to what I am getting at, English is not my first language, so just let me know if I need to clarify something :slight_smile:

I would suggest you get everything working in the Rigify rig first, then you can replace the shapes one by one with your own. Usually you create the shape on another layer (so that it’s not in the way), name it something unique, then change the name of the custom shape to your new one in the bone properties panel. You may have to make adjustments to size and orientation, so do that in edit mode of the shape itself.

How do i replace them then and make them deform? Also I have noticed that when I do rigify>generate there is no weight paint mode, I can see vertices but not the strength of weight paint- is there a way to see this?

I want to thank you so much for your help! THANK YOU!

i guess what your asking is, how do i replace the custom bone shapes and make them deform ?
by deform i guess you mean LocRotScale.

add a cube or something, select your bones in PoseMode.
goto Properties > Bone > Display > Custom Shapes: add the Cube.

to get deformation correct, the Cubes Origin Point must be correct, it must be at the bottom of the Cube, and the Mesh must lead to the top.
It also best to have bones in XYZ Euler Rotation mode to match the Cube.