Face rig vs face shape keys?

I’ve been rigging a couple characters using the rigify addon and the face rig that comes with it. However I"m not entirely thrilled with results for the face. which means I’m either doing it wrong, which is possible as it is my first couple characters, or it just isn’t the best solution.

I’m curious what others use? Rig? Shape keys? Combination of both? Reasons for what you use?

I did find some posts to this regard from 2010 but wonder if there are new and better reasons for either.

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Shapekeys are limited to predefined shapes they need lot of work to sculp all needed facial expressions. Face rig is flexible and give pretty results if was set right way. With facial rig you can reproduce any facial expression. However shapekeys could be used to create small facial skin deformations which would be difficult to achieve with bones - like wrinkles when character smiles or frowns. Tbh i am not very impressive with rigify facial rig I am always create my own from scratch aswell as whole character rig. For facial rigs i would suggest to search DanPro tutorials on youtube. This guy know how to rig!

CYNIC78, thanks for the reply. I have followed danpro’s rigify tutorial and yeah he knows what he’s talking about. I will look for any face right tutorials he might have.

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Dont just look for Blender tutorials. There is a lot of good Maya and Max stuff you can find on youtube. Overall they are based on the same concepts but the archievment could quite differ from program to program.

As for Blender tutorials, Pepes EasyRigging Video gave me a lot of ideas. And BBones are a good substitute for splines wich i used to use in Maya or Max.

Stefan Ehrenhaus has some good videos on facial rigging on his channel.

i would say just like above
facial rig is flexible, you can set it for any character model unlike shape keys , but its very hard to chive it,
shape keys in the other hand are easy to create and to setup, but it only works in one model and your going to recreate every shape-key for each model over and over

i in the other hand prefer shape keys for there curate detailed and easy
the characters i set up shape keys for are "med - low "poly so realistic facial doesn’t matter

her are some videos i fast describe how to setup shapekeys and how the result would be like

To all who have responded. These are great thoughts. I like the bendy bone method but I feel I need to have more experience with rigging in general to know how to set it up effectively. And your right, rigging, among many other things, are similar across different programs. I like Dan pro’s Tut’s and have followed others of his. I think I will go with that for now. It appears he uses some shape keys where necessary. Much of the rig can copy over to other characters with some custom shape keys for each.

Thanks again

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The choice between shape keys and bones depends also on the style of character you are rigging (cartoon / realistic) what you are planning to animate (lipsync, a lot of shots … ), and obviously the time allowed for rigging.

I’ve tried both methods on cartoony characters,
With bones you may find yourself tweaking them a lot when animating. It may require an additional pass of corrective shapes keys .
With shape keys you are limited but it’s quite straightforward to get the model looks right and there is less need to tweak things in animation. I find rigging with them simpler and faster.

Of course with infinite time you can make the perfect rig that is bone based and will always deform right. It’s also possible to use a bit of both on a limited time frame.

This character face is bone based :

these ones are using shape keys :