Maya Facial Rigging Fundamentals

Learn how to create a flexible and contained facial animation rig that allows animators to create meaningful facial poses.
Course info
Rating
(15)
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 30, 2018
Duration
3h 41m
Table of contents
Course Overview
Fundamental Knowledge About Facial Rigging
Rigging the Eyebrows
Creating Controls for a Facial Rig
Rigging the Mouth
Rigging the Eyes
Description
Course info
Rating
(15)
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 30, 2018
Duration
3h 41m
Description

Facial rigging is an essential skill for any aspiring 3d artist, and the ability to create a flexible and contained rig helps animators further down the pipeline. In this course, Maya Facial Rigging Fundamentals, you’ll learn an efficient facial rigging process from start to finish. First, you'll assess what the animator needs to have, which is a facial rig that is flexible and still restricted to only create meaningful facial-poses. Next, you'll learn how to get there, starting with the eyebrows, using joints on one side and blend shapes on the other, learning about the pros and cons of both methods. Moving forward, you'll use a combination of both those techniques for special facial-rigging features such as fleshy eyes, as well as look at controls for the eyeballs. Finally, all those mechanics will be bound to the user controls shown at the beginning. By the end of this course, you'll have the skills you need to rig the face of your own characters. Software required: Maya.

About the author
About the author

Carla Heinzel is a professor of technical art at the German University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, where she teaches 3D art for games and animated movies. She began her career studying animation at a German film academy and later worked for movies, such as 2012, The Immortals, and Cloud Atlas.

More from the author
Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hi everyone! My name is Carla Heinzel, and welcome to my course, Fundamentals of Facial Rigging in Maya. I am a professor of technical art at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Facial rigging is the most artistic part in the whole rigging world because you have to more care about the resulting shapes and expressions of the character than about complex mechanics. Nevertheless, it requires far more than only modeling skills because you have to split up facial expressions into detailed facial movements that in their combinations lead to appealing expressions. Rigging of faces is not only about designing shapes but also about designing usability. This course is teaching beginners and intermediate Maya users the basic theory of facial rigging and how to apply this theoretical knowledge to create exactly the facial rig that matches your character's requirements. Some of the major topics that we will cover include designing a facial rig, facial rigging with joints, facial rigging with blend-shapes, and combining both methods. By the end of this course, you will know about the advantages and disadvantages of joints and blend-shapes, as well as the different the approaches on designing flexible facial rigs versus designing easy-to-use rigs so that you can mount, design, and create your own facial rig tailored for your character's needs. Before beginning the course, you should be familiar with basic modeling in Maya, as well as the Maya UI. I hope you will join me on this journey to learn Maya with the Fundamentals of Facial Rigging in May course at Pluralsight.

Rigging the Eyes
In the following module, we will finish the rig by rigging the eyes. In this module, you will learn how to control the eyeball movement with so-called aim controls that are fixed in space so that the head can move without the eyes following and focusing on a point in space, and how to create the so-called fleshy eyes, which means that the eyelids are deformed by moving the eyeballs, which creates a natural feeling. What also belongs to the eye area are the upper cheeks. As you can see, I already prepared some setup steps here. All that I have done is just repetition and nothing new, so it's easy for you to just create all of those things that I already prepared here on your own. Let's just have a look at the goal for this setup. What you should do is create controls that are controlling the cheek movement in the outer part and in the inner part. You should care for some combinability here as, for example, the outer cheek movement should work well with the lip corner movement. Especially watch out for the in-between geometry between those two joints so that no part of the geometry here is left behind when moving those two controls together. Same counts for the inner cheek and the up lip up. When you move them together, then this should also create a smooth movement. If your character would have a nose, then with the same movement, the nose wing should be lifted, and you would create a proper sneering. What also should work, of course, are both cheek areas together so that you can create a nice creasing of the eyes together with the eyelids, of course, which are not yet set up properly. So this is what we will do together in the next step.