Shape Keys or Bones in Facial Rig

What is better to use: Shape Keys or Bones to rig the face.

Bones are easy to set up, but give result not good enough.

Shape Keys have great look, but setting them up is long.

What should I use to rig the face(mouth, toungue, nose, eyes & brows), and how can I create
those Shape Key controllers(in 3d View)?

I’ve got a feeling this one is a bit oranges/apples…at least at my level of skill.

If you are happier modeling, go for shapes, if you are better at rigging, then go with bones.

You can also combine them with shape key drivers.

If you are going to add lipsync, maybe shapekeys could be easier for working with. You can use the same lipsync channel curve as the associated shapekey curve.

I think most people use shape keys since you can get the most accurate results that way (in my opinion). Rigging is always time consuming. It’s just something we all have to get used to.

You might find the Othello face rig useful. It’s designed to emulate facial muscles, and can be used directly, or to make initial deformations for shape key production. It can be d/l’d from this thread:

from what I have seen you will want bones for the jaw, eyes, eyelids, and tongue. For the lips and eyebrows you can use bones (only if you are good at weight panting) a lattice or shape keys. for eye expression use ether bones or shape keys.
personally I find weight panting to be the hardest thing in blender so I try to avoid it, but you need it for the first 4 stated. using a lattice is easier then shape keys but the results are not near as good as shape keys. My face rigs usually consist of two sets of shape keys. the first set is driven using bones to get the expression, and the second set is used in the shape key editor to get lip sync.

Thanks you, Chipmasque

One thing I have found with weight painting is to remember to use the blur tool. Slap on the paint, then blur the periphery.

So that’s why my mesh got wild :smiley:

Thank you too, Alternicity

New question: Can I sculpt mesh, to create deformation to use it with Shape key?

Yes I can.

While mesh is symmetric, is there any way to copy and paste it as mirrored Shape Key? Or way to bypass it?

edit… got it…

I dont think any one answered your shape key driver question (shape key controller on the actual face). what you do is add the bone you want to control the shape key, add the shape key you want right click on the numbers beside the name then click on add driver. go to the graph editor and change it from f-curve to driver. expand the click on the name of the shape key on the panel on the left hit N then change the driver type to averaged value click on add variable change single property to transform channel chose your armature chose your bone chose loc/rot/scale that is desired for the driver and BAM you have a on screen shape key manipulator. if it changes too fast or too slow or goes the wrong way you can change the last number in the generator modifier underneath.

you can see another discussion on this here
(there are also some blend examples)
heaps of good info

I figured it, how to do it in 2.49, also, found useful script to make Shape Key Drivers in few clicks

But where is hidden IPO curve window in new generation of 2.5’s ?

It is called the graph editor in 2.5x and the way i said to make shape keys is in 2.5x

I think according to my experience its better to use shape key than ameture for facial …because too much bones take too long to render and it’s easy to make a shape of your self without applying ameture witch is complicated and take long to apply …for me shape keys is the best …for facial if you know how it works