General question about shape keys and modifiers

Hi all!

Currently, I am working on a facial rig which will be mostly animated by bones/armature, but for some parts (like the eyelids and facial expressions) I would like to use shape keys.

Now I have noticed that shape keys prevent any modifers from being applied, which means I have to apply all modifiers before starting to work on the various shape keys for facial expressions.
This is kind of cumbersome, because I prefer modeling on a lowpoly mesh with a subsurf modifier instead of an highpoly mesh.

I’ve read elsewhere that you can transfer individual shape keys manually to the final subdivided mesh. If you have a lot of shape keys (like 20+), this seems like a fairly lengthy process.

I guess my question basically is: Is there a way to apply a (for example) subsurf modifier on a mesh with shape keys? Maybe by using a script or addon? Or am I missing something?

I would be very thankful for any help or ideas.


Generally speaking there is almost never any reason to apply a subsurf modifier. It does its job just gine as a modifier. Why do you want to apply it?

My gut-feeling here is that you’re going to have great difficulty setting-up any sort of keys against a low-poly mesh, then applying some kind of modifier to it in order to (so to speak …) “fake high-poly,” and still wind up with something that looks decent. Even though you’re modeling something low-poly, the audience is going to see the fake.

Methinks that you should spend a day here setting-up “the simplest of test-cases,” just to see for yourself what alternatives you actually have. Exercise your ideas, ex minimis, in order to see for yourself what pans out … and what doesn’t. :slight_smile:

In this case, I am (at best) very skeptical that you would actually have (sufficient) control over this.