Question about shape keys and armatures vs. edit mode.

I am trying to use the papagayo script on a face I have (ludwigs), and the script wants shape keys. Like when you create a shape key in edit mode, with a vertice in one spot in one shape key, and in another spot in another shape key. You can then use the slider to change blend them together. Here are some screenshots.

Notice the shape key is basis, and the plane is square, with one vertice selected in edit mode.

Now notice that it is key 1, and the vertice is moved. The slider is at 1.0, and at 0.0 the shape is at Basis. When you have the slider at 0.5 it looks like this.

Also, notice that it is in object mode, as it won’t work in edit mode for the slider.

In this one, notice that you can do sliders in action window, and if I had another key of another vertice moving, you could mix and match them to make different shapes on the object.

Now here is the question.

I don’t want to edit the vertices of the whole face, and just want to use armatures to move the mouth where I want it. I don’t want to create shapes in edit mode, and want to use bones in pose mode to make the shapes. How would I do this, but make the shapes show up in the OBJECTS action window, NOT the ARMATURES?

I want to get shape keys by posing the plane with armatures, which in turn deform the object. I then want to go into EDIT MODE on the OBJECT WITH the deformation I just made with the armatures, NOT go back to the shape it was modelled in. E. G.> If I deformed the plane like in key 1 with armatures, then went into edit mode on the plane, I would be looking back at the square, and when I go back into edit mode, it would look like in key 1. I want to be looking at the deformed plane in edit mode, without making the deformed plane in edit mode, but with armatures.

I hope I have supplied enough information, and I hope that there is someone out there willing (or able) to supply an answer. I would also like to know how the orange guys did lipsyncing, if it is easier than my way. Thanks!

Gee, thanks for posting those big images explaining what shape keys are!!! :rolleyes:

If you select the armature then you will not get mesh shape keys showing up in the Action window. To get those, you’ll have to select the mesh. Since you don’t want to animate the mesh, you’re out of luck.

As I receall, Ludwig doesn’t have specific phoneme shapes (Mouth sound shapes) so even if you select the mesh and work with shape keys, you’d have to create those shapes.

Ludwig’s mouth shapes are driven by bones but these bones need to be manipulated to produce the specific combinations you need to make the phoneme shapes. It should be possible, I guess, to create separate actions for these bones where each action arranges them to form the basic shapes you need. But I’m not sure if you could then use these actions in percentages like you can with sliders. You could probably add more bones, one for each shape, then use these bones to drive the ACTION to drive the shapes. Then you could animate these bones in percentages. You’ll need to research Actions and Action Constraints for this.

EDIT: See the two posts below. It seems they may have understood your problem better.

Maybe Sketchy or LGM can offer more advice.

Are you talking about editing a mesh deformed by an armature? If so, make sure the armature is affecting the mesh as a modifier. Then make sure the 4th and 5th buttons from the right-hand side of that modifier’s panel are turned on.

I’m not sure whether this is what you meant though… Your message was very confusing.


Slight correction – Aligorith meant 4th and 5th buttons from the left. You want to turn on “Enable Modifier During Edit Mode,” as well as the circular button that will then appear called “Apply modifier to editing cage”. Then in Edit mode you will be able to see the mesh as modified by the armature.

It sounds like maccam912 would like to “bake” a series of bone-induced deformations into shape keys. That is, the ultimate desired result is a set of shape keys, but to get the rough-draft of those shape keys, to use an armature to sketch out the majority of the deformation work.

I don’t have a solution to that, but maybe maccam912 could verify that it sounds right. Are BVH’s technically the same as shape keys? If so, maybe there’s an armature-to-bvh conversion or bake script.

It sounds like maccam912 would like to “bake” a series of bone-induced deformations into shape keys.

You should be able to do this with a combination of the Apply Deformation and Rvk1->Rvk2 scripts. I’ve tested it successfully on simple, nonsubsurfed rectangular prisms anyway (v 2.41).


  1. Have open a 3D and a Scripts window.
  2. Define a Basis shape key for the face.
  3. Deform your mouth with the armature. When you like the shape, select the face mesh in Object mode and go Scripts->Mesh->Apply Deformation. This will make a new object called <meshname>_def with the deformation. It will probably be right on top of your first mesh; you can move it out of the way (in Object mode!).
  4. Add a Basis shape key for this deformed mesh.
  5. Select first the original mesh, then the deformed - the order is important!
  6. Go Scripts->Mesh->Rvk1 to Rvk2. This should add the shape key from the deformed mesh to the shape keys for the original.
  7. You can now delete the extra deformed mesh object and continue the process from Step 3.

This sounds tedious but it isn’t really too bad. I have no idea whether this will work with a complicated / subsurfed mesh or one with shape keys already added, nor what will happen to existing vertex groups etc. Let us know if it works for you.

Edit: Ok I’ve got this to work on a subsurfed face model. I turned off all the “Enable modifer” buttons in the subsurf modifier then went through the above process. If you don’t do this, Rvk1-Rvk2 gives a “No 2 meshes selected” error. It’s no problem if there are already shape keys defined on the mesh, Rvk1->Rvk2 just adds them to the list. Still don’t know what happens to existing vertex groups.

500th post, wuhu. Where’s my monkey?