Mouth rig: simple but effective

I recently worked out a nice, simple, and really effective way to rig mouths. Here’s a demo video:

And here’s the blend file:


so cool! Really good. Don’t have time to do a quick tutorial on it?


Cool. This is is indeed quite a useful little setup, and seems to work quite nicely.

EDIT: were the weights in this demo auto or hand-painted?

Just wanted to say you have every reason to be excited, cause the rig looks freakin awesome!! Thanks for the demo video, and I’m now gonna go and dissect the blend file and hopefully learn a few things.

Thanks very very much!

The weighting was done by hand. It could easily be better. I did a quick job of it. This was mainly a test. I’m actually a bit astonished that it works this well even without a better weighting job.

Very cool! I wanna play with this some more… thanks for the Blend

I took a look at your blender file and I have a question
what kind of connection do upper and lower_mouth have with jaw ?
at first I thought it was parent-child (Ctrl P -keep offset) but I was wrong and I’m curious now.

This is really cool. Please do a tutorial on how you built this!


lol I’ve been making my chew controls this way for months. You should have just asked man :slight_smile:
Ironically, I even used this technique on a rig I named after you! Granted, I implemented the chew control with a copy location constraint not copy rotation, but the half-mast jaw rotation effect is still the same.

So does this mean you’re revisiting face rigging? Maybe we can share notes? I’d love the chance to brainstorm ideas with you with actual blends to back them up and see how far we can go! No deadlines this time :wink: What do you say?

Excellent rig. I’m right at the face rigging point for my new character. I have been writing a script that lip syncs using actions and NLA,

A question. Bones for mouth corners, any suggestions on how to set them up based on your rig?

Forget the above just had another look at your rig… it’s brilliant. To purse the lips for instance scaling the mouth bones x:0.8 y1.4 gives a pretty nice “kiss”. The I can add pursed as a property like the way you’ve done the mouth open.

I reckon this armature is going to give some sweet results for lip syncing,. but alas first things first … applying this rig to my character

Could I please use this rig as an example for my lipsync script?

Hey Nathan!
Really sweet idea. I like it a lot. Good timing too. I’m up to rigging the face on my Rigify test character.
The main thing I miss (as batFINGER mentions) from this setup is control over the sides of the mouth.

BTW, do you have a fan club yet?

Damn, FGC… I didn’t even know about your new blog, and hadn’t seen this… very interesting rig (not to hijack Nathan’s thread) I need to get some time carved out to play with all of the new toys…

1 Like

Thanks :slight_smile: I’m 100% satisfied with the body rig on that character, and the face rig works for how simple it is and for how easy it was to make, but I am far from satisfied with it.

Unfortunately the face rigging options in Blender are fairly limited compared to what I see artists doing in other softwares. Without low-level node access there just isn’t much you can do besides bones and shapekeys. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna throw in the towel! All the best face-rigs I’ve seen are all shapekey based. So that’s where I’m focused right now - finding the optimal balance between bones and shapekeys. I’m basically doing something like this, blending the shapekeys together in the controllers to create a more fleshy look, but using a single bone for each lip and the jaw like Cessen’s done here. That way the chew control (and maybe even the lip twist) can be done directly, making for less shapekeys. Plus the shapekeys I do make are pretty much all corrective, except for the edges of the mouth. That means I should have less ‘collisions’ happening and problems getting the keys to play nice together since they are generally pretty subtle. That’s the theory anyway :slight_smile:

But it looks good so far, and I’ve only just begun, so I’m excited! :smiley: Once I have a good face rig to use I can move entirely into making animations! So yea… finding a good face rig is very important to me :slight_smile:

1 Like