Help from Advanced Blender User Requested

Hello all,

I’m making a rig for a large scale personal project, and I would like to shape key the facial features.
However, once I begin shape keying, I’d like to be one hundred percent certain that my model is as intended, and that I won’t be deleting any vertices or adding any either.

What I request is that somebody with experience in rigging and shape keying could look at the included file, and just run a quick check-up for me. Are there any overlapping faces? Any stray vertices? Anything of concern, really.

Bonus points if you could figure out why the selected bone bends the arm weirdly. When you bend the shoulder, the arm offsets. Don’t worry too much about the armature in this case, I’m running tests on it, so aside from the bendy issue problem, I’m mostly looking for general topology help.

Thank you for reading,

Mik Face Bone Shape Key Testing.blend (3.43 MB)


I think it’s ok if you want to add shapes. I haven’t seen something that would prevent you from going on shape keys.
That said, here are a few points :

  • You may want to separate the face from the body, so you can manage better the body or other parts.
    (Keep the meshes with shapes separated, unless you plan to export it to a game engine (unity / unreal) )

  • Even if you add shape you can still remove vertices , add them ect… to some extent . Of course it’s always better to avoid that.
    And you’ll have to make sure to edit the Basis shapes to not mess up existing shapes.

  • Maybe you can close completely the mouth, it’s generally better to start adding shapes in that state.

  • Facial topology can be improved to better react to shapes, but I think you can still manage something great with that.

And about the arm, I’m not sure to see what you mean. One thing tho that you may be aware of , but just in case, you need to add a clavicle bone to raise the arm better …

Good luck with your project !

Thank you, this is the exact kind of answer I was expecting.
You said I could improve the facial topology. Do you remember how I’d be able to do so exactly?

This is a really huge project that I really want to be great, so don’t be shy to overflow me with details and explanations!

About topology,

Maybe you can make a quick test with a smile to see if that’s worth to change it.
It can work as it is, it’s just that in general, it’s better to have loops that make circles around the mouth.

In some ways your topology is similar to the first and second picture :

There it gets very hard to make good shapes also because the character is realistic, it need a rock solid topology.
as your character is stylized it can works even without standard topology. Even if these rules also apply to stylized characters as well.

Here are some good examples :

In fact it gets helpful when you need to make subtle expressions :
with a good topology around the mouth you can easily make the smiling line (that goes from the nose to the corner of the mouth) appear.

As said make a quick test to see if it’s worth the change, big projects are always a matter of trade-off to succeed.
If that work then maybe you should go on with some more important tasks.