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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Epic Games Style Facial Rig

This was my experiments on the Epic Games style facial rig.  It essentially allows them to make one hero face, controlled with morph deformers (blendshapes), and then transfer the animation to a joint system on a series of different faces.  Joints are much cheaper to use in a game engine, and it is much easier on the animators to use a single system across all of the characters in the Gears of War game.

I edited the Nassa rig to have a mouth to test this out.  The left Nassa face is the hero using blendshapes.  The controllers drive that face, which in turn move locators parented to the verts on the face.  (I used a Maya rivet script to constrain the locators to verts.  Make sure your UV spaces are unique!)  Then those locators move the weighted joints on the character's face. The transfer wasn't exactly 1 to 1, but it was pretty close, and with more work, I'm sure it'd be closer.  With a higher-poly face, I'd need some more joints and a bit more time in weighting.  However, even these limited joints transfered to the high-poly Chip face pretty well, with minor editing on the joint weights.

(video coming soon, too)

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