Shape Key/Facial Rig

Hello all -
I have been working in 2.5 for some time now and I think it’s great!
I can model fine and animate fine, but I am trying to delve into the rigging process (face in particular - I’ve got a good basis for the body armature).
My question is - are there any good tutorials for 2.5 that will instruct me on how to go about setting up the rig for the face?
Thanks in advance!

You might like to try out the Othello face rig, which works on its own or as a way to set up base deformations for shape keys. I haven’t run it much in 2.5 but a few tests show that it does work in that version.

I’m writing a chapter on that right now oddly enough though I can’t blatantly put my stuff online before publishing. The basic process is to make the mouth open & close with careful weight painting to a jawbone. Then, you make shapekeys for (in my opinion a minimum of) the following;

  • smile
  • frown
  • cheeks: puff
  • cheeks: suck
  • wide
  • pucker
  • toplip: sneer_L
  • toplip: sneer_R
  • bottomlip: grimace_L
  • bottomlip: grimace_R
  • toplip: curl in
  • toplip: roll out
  • bottomlip:curl in
  • bottomlip: roll out

That’s a lot of shapekeys, but you can make pretty much any standard phoneme from them. Blender2.5 is awesome with its sculpting and even X-mirror editing mode to speed up the symmetrical stuff. There’s even the option of duplicating a shapekey and then mirroring it for the different _L and _R variations which is way more efficient than the old vertex group _L & _R method.

Lancer that sounds great! :slight_smile: I’m interested in this too. When do you expect to release this and in what format will it be released? Oh yeah, Is it for 2.5?


Heh - I wasn’t meaning to spam this thread and plug my book. I’m struggling with keeping to the deadlines at the moment, but otherwise it should be due for public release as hard copy and as ebook in September. Googling for “Lance Flavell” and “Apress” should find it. Oh, and their listed chapters are wrong. Someone further up wanted more texturing and not as much rigging / animation emphasis.

Great thank you! I’ll keep an eye out for it :spin:

For some good tutorials on face rigging, check out David Ward’s tutorials on, he did an alien head. His tutorial only uses bones for rigging. You can use this approach, or you can use shapekeys, or a combo of the two. I have not seen any proof that one method is better than another, it’s been debated several times.