Character Rigging in Maya provides a basic introduction to rigging theory, and delves into the details of how to create professional, realistic 3D characters. And we learn how to combine Maya's skeleton, inverse kinematics (IK), and constraint tools to create a basic rig for a character, and how to attach the character mesh to the skeleton using Maya's skinning tools. Facial expressions are a crucial part of your character’s ability to communicate. Most of what your character feels will be articulated by using facial expressions. Face language is universal. For example, we can instantly tell when someone is worried, happy, or sad based on the position of their eyebrows, cheeks, and mouth, no matter what language is spoken. There are two common approaches primarily used when creating facial expressions: blend shape driven poses and joint driven poses. In this chapter, we will be focusing on the former, as the joint driven process assumes you already have an understanding of joints and skin deformers, which we won’t address until later chapters. The joint driven process is the approach used for animation in the gaming field, because at this time, game engines do not support blend shapes. A blend shape is a deformer that changes the shape of one piece of geometry to look like the shape of another. This deformer has also been referred to as a morph, because its concept is based on a metamorphosis. Blend shapes can be used for pretty much any type of morphing. While this chapter will focus on facial expressions, they can also be used in the rest of the body, such as muscle motion and making sure the body geometry bends appropriately in areas such as elbows and knees, a process known as corrective blend shapes.
Before creating blend shapes, it is extremely important to finalize the geometry. Your finished geometry is considered your base shape. The base shape is duplicated into the target shapes (as many times as necessary), and each target shape...
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