Rigging Concept - ShapeKeys plus Armature Deformation

Hey Guys,

I have been working on trying to get an mesh to deform with shape keys and armature at the same time.
This is useful when you want to deform and mesh with a shape key - and have the ctrl bone to stick to the mesh without getting any cycling or double transformations.

Anyway, I know I am not the first person to try this but I had a good long think about and tried 743 different ways of achieving this and I think I have.
I am still yet to test it on a more complex model - but it isn’t a very easy set up.

I have attached a file but here is a basic explanation.

I have used an action constraint that tracks the start and end position for the closest vert in the shape.
and then I set the control bone to display at this location
so therefore the ctrl bone doesn’t actually transform when the shape activates - but it appears to.

To test the file a pull it apart:
grab the ctrl bone and move it around
select the Root bone and slide the “shape” property up/down
you will see that the ctrl bone moves the mesh - and there isn’t any cycling or double transformations.

hopefully it will work on more complex set ups
and it’s not the easiest thing to set up for a large rig
but its a start

hopefully somebody smarter than me can improve this setup


SculptorsPlusArmature.blend (398 KB)

Hey thanks! While it is pretty cool, isn’t it a lot of work to set up/maintain? So you have to create an action for each shape key and trigger that. Seems ok actually. I assume though you will have quite alot of action constrains stacked up in the end, otherwise they cannot be blended additively. Not a bad thing necessarily. Probably even the only way to achieve this with the given tools. Thanks for sharing!

yes it is a bit of work to set up :frowning:
but I’m sure there would be a way to automate some of this with a script or by developing a new constraint which does some of the calculations on the fly

This was the only way I could get it to work with the way blender works - But I think it would be really useful for mouth shapes