What's the best way to do facial animations (char w/ skel)

What is the best way to do facial animations/speech/etc with a character that has a working skeleton? Should I use bones with NLA or IPO curves with RVK? I’ve already got NLA set up for a few animations such as blink, look left/right, walk cycle, etc.

[offtopic] The character is gonna be in a short movie (around 5 maybe more minutes long), I’ll prolly post a WIP thread soon too…
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here this tut http://blenderchar.weirdhat.com/lipsynctute/
good luck! :smiley:

Yeah, I know about that tutorial, but can I use RVK if I’ve already got a skeleton controling the vertices? Aaand, how do I blend that into my NLA strip?

Yes you can use RVK if you have a skeleton

You can’t yet. You’ll have to use the IPO and Action editor, like this:
http://www.blender3d.com/cms/typo3temp/pics/a0688dcd00.jpg

Keep a close eye to the Testing Builds forum, in 2.40 you will be able to put everything with an IPO in the NLA editor.

You can’t yet. You’ll have to use the IPO and Action editor, like this:
http://www.blender3d.com/cms/typo3temp/pics/a0688dcd00.jpg

Keep a close eye to the Testing Builds forum, in 2.40 you will be able to put everything with an IPO in the NLA editor.[/quote]

Hmm… Then should I just wait for 2.40 to do the animation?

How would I use the IPO and Action editor like in that picture? I can see that there are what appears to be RVK’s in the action editor, but how do I get that in there? Is there a tutorial or documentation that I can read? thanks.

RVK tutorials:
http://membres.lycos.fr/bobois/index_anglais.html
Scroll down to “RVKs Part I of III.”

RVKs will be visible in the Action editor as soon as the keys have an IPO.

Then should I just wait for 2.40 to do the animation?

You don’t have to. RVKs are useable at the moment. Getting them in the NLA editor is just more comfortable.

Thanksl! Basically, you control the IPO curves with the sliders. I’m on my way to finishing my anim! Thanks.

Enigma:

Here is a comprehensive set of online video tutorials covering the modeling of a human head and animating the head through a violent sneeze using both bones and “morphing” using relative vertex keys. If you want to skip the modeling part, start the “BlenderHead” series around number 7 in the list:

www.visiontovision.com/BlenderHead7.html

I hope this is helpful to you.

Greg Smith

This is a bit off-topic here, so I’m very sorry for intruding on your thread, but I just ran into problems animating a character’s facial motions with hooks after I’d attached the head to an armature – the hooked vertices lagged the armature vertices by one frame or so.

How did you set it up so that bones control the facial vertices? Do you just put the bones in individually and move them manually w/o IK, as though they were your hooked empties? And does that work well? (i.e. are there no lag problems?)

-Tae

Oh, you’re not intruding at all!

Anyway,

Basically I have one bone that controls the whole head (tilt, look, etc). Then I used RVK’s and manually rearranged the vertices for facial animations. The head turning doesn’t effect the facial animation as long as you do the face pose in “rest pos”. The facial pose is rotated along with the head like it should be. As far as the eye & blinking? For me, the eye was separate from the body and the eyelids were each separate from the eye and each other. I just added a couple of bones that control their rotation (each starts at the center of the object).

does that answer your question?

Yes, thanks very much. I actually went back and rerigged my little head with bones, though, and they work pretty much like hooks (testanim here), so I think I’ll go with that. Hooks are a lot easier for me than RVKs, because I haven’t quite got the hang of manipulating them or their IPO curves, and as far as the bones go, the NLA setup for poses like eyes-wide or eyes-shut turned out to be pretty easy to deal with. I can probably get a decent NLA action for common reax like double-take or sigh too, if it comes to that.

OTOH, of course, RVKs would probably be a lot better for a detailed performance. But they’re hard. -_-

-Tae

I have tired useing RVKs for Facial expressions but were to compicated, difficult to adjust but the biggest problem is they are very unatural “try smiling twice exactly the same way while talking” so i have been experimenting with Hooks it may be alot more work but they are easy to adjust and look very natural

for you though I would recomend using Bones (Jaw,Eyes,Eyelids) and Hooks(Corner of mouth ,checks and Eye Brows)

Good Luck :smiley: :smiley:

I think hooks are a bit problematic, because they lag the armature animation by a bit, when you attach the hooks to a moving part of the body. Non-chain Bones used as hooks seem to work fine, though, and you can manipulate them pretty much like hooks. Re: the unnatural smile, my understanding is that you can blend different RVKs, not having them all appear at 100%, so if the identical smile is a problem, you can just have two different smiles and have all smiles in the animation appear as differing combinations of smile1 and smile2. Or something. RVKs are too hard for me too.

-Tae