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Introduction to Creating Facial Blendshapes in Maya

Introduction to Creating Facial Blendshapes in Maya


The face is one of the most complex areas of the human body, and understanding the motion of the face is even more complex. Being able to split facial motion into key shapes to be used together to form expressions not only simplifies the face but allows you to re-create these shapes in CG, and animate complex expressions. In this 5-hour workshop by Derrick Sesson, a Facial Modeler at Digital Domain, you will learn all the basics of Facial Blendshape Modeling.


This workshop assumes you have no prior knowledge of blendshapes, and takes you through the full facial process using Autodesk Maya. Derrick starts with a thorough explanation of FACS (Facial Action Coding System), before preparing a ZBrush head for deformation, breaking down essential shapes needed for each region of the face, and blocking in those shapes with deformers, such as clusters. He shows how to refine those shapes with Maya’s sculpting tools, before bringing them all together into a blendshape node.


The concepts and lessons in this workshop will equip you with a fundamental understanding of FACS and how to create blendshapes, providing you with all the skills you need to create a set of facial blendshapes that give you the control to morph a face into any expression you like.


The head model showcased throughout the workshop was created by the talented team at 3dscanstore.com and is available for free. The skills taught can also be applied to other character head models.