Facial animation with an armature

Hi, this is part of my work on facial animation using a “mix” of waters model and real facial muscle configuration.

I’m using an armature and vertex groups to make facial movements in order to follow the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). In this system, all movements are described as combination of some muscle movs.

The final idea will be having a muscle armature and to be able to “load” new scanned facial meshes and had them parented to that armature. The muscle movement will be pre-configured so that you only have to define the regions of influence of each muscle.(maybe with the weight paint tool). I’m making some work with a very decimated scanned face and the results are not bad (I have not modified the original scanned face so the vertex are placed where the 3D scanner found them more suitable, also the mesh has few points). This is only a first aprox to what I’m triyng to do (I’m learning new things each day) so have in mind it is not the final version.

Hope you find it at least interesting. Also if there’s some work similar, like make human project or something like that, let me know.

(I haven’t included the textures because this is a head of a guy I don’t know as my project tutor scanned him in a convention in Madrid, so I don’t think he would like to be posted in the web. Only using him for practising)


Thats it, I quit. lol

Man, that is a smashing model. No other word for it, simply smashing.
Way too complicated for me, I’ll stick to my cubes. :stuck_out_tongue:

sounds interesting… what is this ‘FACS’ stuff? means nothing to me.

FACS are predefined facial movements based in AU’s (action units). It’s like a universal facial movement coding system.


that is really interesting… also for game models :wink:

I may have to set one these up for my self portrait. I guess you could easily create blend shapes that way too.

Would it be easier to used RVKs for facial movements? You can overlap RVKs, or do one or more RVKs at the same time.

I agree RVKs would be better. See my post in your original thread in the Game Engine forum.

Keith. 8)

This is very cool, but your facial movement would look more natural using a model with loops in the topography, rather than the realscan generated field of triangles.

Still, it’s really ambitious. I look forward to seeing more.

First of all, thanks for the comments, as they’ll give my project new perspectives, which is really good.

I know RVK’s are what may look more suitable for face design (maybe they really are). I’ve seen human face models that implement mov’s this way.

There are many ways of modelling a human face but the main two branches are manipulating the geometry of a human mesh or interpolation between different images. For manipulating a human face, you can make an interpolation between two “poses” (what RVK’s do), or by simulating muscle movement. This has been already done with raw programming over the mesh vertices, and the results are quite good.

Obviously, I cannot compete with a group of good programmers that have much more experience than me (and more time).

What I’m trying to do is a model as realistic as posible and as easy as it could be. Here’s an overview of the reasons of my choice:

Muscles (simplifying) are inserted in the cranium and end in the epidermis. In the cranium insertion there’s no mov but near the epidermis it is. It’s muscle movement what makes the face deform to show expresions.

That’s why I thought an armature would be suitable because the basic muscle movement is implemented by bones: by sizing them you can emulate muslce contractions, you can rotate them and also the cranium insertion is simulated by the bone itself as the location point of the bone.

Also, there’s the advantage of weight painting. My project is suposed to load any scanned human face and be able to make deformations in a short time. I don’t know if RVK’s lets you make something similar. So in the end, if I can save my armature configuration and basic moves, only by importing a new mesh and making some weigth painting (it would be great to do this with an script) I could have a new animated human face.

Sorry for the length of the post and thanks for reading. Please keep on making comments, it helps me a lot.

Keep on working

I agree with using bones. I prefer bones over vertex animation. Someone posted a link to a professional character animator’s portfolio and you can see it’s entirely possible to animate realistic facial expressions with them. Here’s a 500kb extract:



Also, someone already did some facial expressions using bones with cartoonish figures on this site and the results were really good.

I’ve downloaded the file you attached but the mpeg is only 3 secs and doesn’t show anything. It’s a shame. Do you have any other links related? I would be very interested. Many thanks

I’ve also posted a problem I’ve got with the animation. Please read my post in blender general.