making a more advance mouth setup

Hi everyone,

I’m thinking of rigging a new character on blender and for now, when I look at the ways to setup the mouth, I’m not completely satisfied! The only way I see for now is with shape key but they have their limitation, especially if you want to stretch the mouth really far.

For example if we look at the mouth of characters like gru in Despicable me, you can see how flexible it is. I don’t know exactly what method they used and if someone knows, I would love to know!

Anyway, with Maya I created a character and I didn’t use any blend shape (shape key in maya) I use nurbs surface that I weight paint on the bones of the jaws. Then I use bones that slide on this nurbs surface to simulate the muscles.

I think I went a bit too far with that system, I think the best would been to mix this system with shape key.

The limitation of shape key is that when you stretch them really far, the interpolation goes straight from one point to the other instead of having a nice arc. In maya, you can add some inbetween to the shape key but still it, not as smooth as being able to slide a bone on a surface like that.

Would you have any idea to do that or to use another system to be able to mix key shape with something else to be able to create nice cartoon mouth system.

thank you for your help.

In Blender it’s actually very easy to combine shape keys with bone or any other influence using drivers.
check out this video tutorial by nathan vegdhal

for things that need to move in an arc like the jaw and eyelids i use bone + shapekeys
for the rest you can just use shapekeys. you can also make ‘inbetween’ shapes by changing the base of the shape key.
on top of it you can also use lattice controls, curve modifier or a meshdeform modifier (meshdeform will be a problem in a areas that need precise bone rotation like the jaw)
I recommend also to check bassam’s mancandy. it’s from the old version of blender but still can be implemented (more easly and better now)

there is also a good tutorial about it in blendercookie

thank snot_nose for these different links, I will test them!