So, the face rig for Sintel has pretty much been a big train wreck up until now. I started off trying to do a primarily bone-based face rig, since it would be easier to automate and adapt to other characters. I made some progress with this, and it’s still a direction I’d like to pursue after Durian for background characters in future works. Here’s where I managed to get things:
Unfortunately, the R&D for such a system was just taking too much time, and was progressing way too slowly. The controls were very under-constrained (not in the good kind of way) and way too finicky. And the weight-painting was positively painstaking. And contrary to what I might wish, we have to finish this movie within the time allowed by our budget.
So in the end we scrapped that system in favor of the tried-and-true shape-key method. Angela quickly blocked in some of the basic shapes, and I hooked them up to the rig. Here are the results so far:
(Keep in mind that there are still more shape keys to be added, and the ones that are there are not final yet.)
I’m not at all sure about this control interface. I’m rather averse to the slider-and-box gui’s of most face rigs, but I’m also finding it very difficult to come up with an alternative that isn’t a horribly cluttered mess. There’s so much to control on a face. So we’ll see.
Unfortunately, whatever I’ve got in place when we start facial animation in earnest is what we’ll be stuck with, so the control scheme may end up being somewhat less-than-awesome. But such is the way of production rigging.
You’ll also note that there are occasionally some nasty artifacts in the deformations around the eyelids (particularly noticeable in the above video when I’m blending in and out of the last face pose). Rest assured, this will be fixed before the movie comes out. 😉