Important Reads

Disclaimer

Although I did test Faceit on versatile characters with varying morphology and topology, I can not guarantee perfect results for every single character. Depending on the character and the requirements for your project, you might have to invest more time in fixing artifacts. Problems might occur on individual characters during binding/weighting or even with the generated expressions. I will try to present solutions for common error sources in this documentation, but please don't hesitate to contact me for advice!

How does it Work?

A full fledged facial rig and a generated animation is used to apply a base deformation for each shape. You can fine tune all expressions by either Posing the bones OR to keep full artistic control you can also Sculpt on top of each expression! The resulting deformations are finally baked into shape keys, ready for animation. The whole rigging, creation and animation process is fully non-destructive! You can always go back and tweak any step in the pipeline, without ever risking to loose anything!
Please have a look at the pages Setup to Baking for a detailed overview of the involved steps!

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What are shape keys?

Shape keys are used to deform objects into new shapes for animation. The technique allows a single mesh to deform to numerous pre-defined shapes or even any number of combinations of these shapes.

  • The Basis Shape, is the default shape of the mesh (for example a neutral expression on a characters face)
  • The Key Shapes or targets, are exact copies of the base mesh that are deformed into another pose. For example, the same characters face, smiling or frowning. Each facial expression is stored in another Key Shape.

Tip

Read more on shape keys and how to create and edit them in the Blender Manual

sk Deforming the Default Cube by a Shape Key. Any number of shape keys can be used in combination.

Terminology

shape keys are also referred to as:

  • Blendshapes
  • Morphs
  • Morphtargets
  • Sliders
  • just Shapes
  • and probably many more...

In this documentation I will try to stick with the Blender exclusive term shape keys, but occasionally I might also talk of (facial) Expressions or blendshapes.
If you are using external software, you will most probably have to use a different term than shape keys, but other than that it is all the same concept.