Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating controls for facial animation, part of Rigging a Cartoon Character in Maya.
- Now let's turn out attention to facial animation and let's create a facial rig for this character. Now, we've already laid some of the ground work. We added in our blend shapes for some of the mouth shapes. We also added in some mouth and jaw controls. So I've taken the character and I've added in a few things that we're going to wire in. The first one is a head control and this is very similar to the spine controls that we added in before.
And then I also created this facial control panel. Now this basically has controls for the eyes, these will be the blink controls. We have a control for a smile and frown, as well as for sneer, you'll see in a bit. Also, controls for the jaw and the mouth, and these will control these joints that we're working with as well as some single axis controllers for MM and OH, as well as to dilate the pupils. So we're going to wire all of these in.
But before we do anything, we need to make sure that our control panel is set up and connected into the character. So the first thing that I'm going to do is just start off with this head control here. And if I go into my outliner, you'll see it right here. So basically what I need to do is just have this control one of the head joints. And I'm going to have it control this one here, which is the head one joint. So all I need to do is select this, and then select that head one joint, and we'll do the same that we did with the spine, we'll create a constraint.
So we're going to point constrain it, make sure we have maintain offset, and orient constraint. Again, with maintain offset. So now this joint is controlled by my controller. So if I rotate it, I can rotate my head, and I can also move it to get some other nice little effects. So this gives me a lot of control over the position of my head. So now that I have this, I need to place it into the hierarchy of the other controls.
So I'm going to go into this rig master control and then just go under the hips until I find the top of the spine. And then I'm going to select this head control right here, and middle click, and drag it right there. So now, it's part of the entire hierarchy. So when we move our character, everything moves with it. Now, we also have this control panel here. And we need to set that up as well.
Well, one of the things that we need to do is just organize things into groups. So we've got a lot of things here that are what I would call background information. So if we look at the outliner, we have a lot of these little curves here that basically are the background for this controller. So I'm just going to select all of these, basically just all of these curves here, and I'm just to group them by hitting Control G.
So now this group is going to be called, let's say, Face Control BG, okay. So now this is going to be kind of the background of everything. And then all of my controls are here. So they're all labeled with a CTL on the back. So I'm going to go ahead and select all of these, and we're going to group it again, and I'm going to call this my Face Control.
Now, I want that to move along with this head, here. So I can do one of two things. I can place it in this hierarchy, but sometimes that might be a little hard to find. So if I dig all the way down here, maybe I'll find it. So if I put it right here, then when I select this and move it, the face controls go with it. So I think that's a pretty good place to put it.
But we also can constrain it to this, and that would leave it outside of the hierarchy. Now, the final thing we need to do, is we need to set some limits. Now, these controls here can basically move wherever they want. And we want to keep them limited to these little boxes that we're working in. So, I don't want to have my animators moving that smile control all the way out here, because that's going to break the rig.
So I want to keep this between zero and one. So each one of these, you want to make sure you select them, and then do a modify freeze transformations, and then you'll notice that these are perfectly sized, so that they're just about one unit across up and down. So all we have to do is find each one of these controls, go into the attribute editor, and under the main node, we have limit information. So all we want to do is limit translate in X and Y to negative one and plus one, which is actually the default.
And then in Z, we're going to limit it to zero to zero. So basically we don't want it to move in Z. Another way to do this is just to lock it down. So in fact, I'm going to do that. I think that would be a little bit easier. So the translate in Z, just right click over it, and do Lock Selected from the channel box. So now, this cannot move outside of that box. And that's great because then I know my rig won't break. Now, each one of these is going to be a little bit different.
So this OH, I actually want this to move from zero to two. So I'll limit it to that. This MM, I'm going to move from negative one, all the way up to positive one, as well as for the dialogue. And then these eyes are going to move from zero to one as well, and this one will move from zero to negative one. So go ahead and get the facial control panel set up and then we'll start wiring stuff together.
- Creating stretchy joints with expressions and the Node Editor
- Adding spine stretch
- Setting up IK/FK switching
- Manipulating faces with blend shapes
- Skinning the character
- Creating controls for facial animation
- Rigging the eyes
- Testing the rig with a simple animation