Thursday, June 10, 2010

To the Face Machine!

He looks kinda like that old horror movie "pinhead" character with all the things stickin out his face...

So I've been resculpting the face umpteen thousand times over the past few days. I'm finally pretty close to what I want so I'm gonna throw it into Face Machine to see how it's deforming. It's a pretty sweet app for checking a head deformation. Half hour of setup and you can pretty much get any pose you want out of it. Something isn't working well? Well go back and fix the model, rerun the rig maker and you have an updated look at how things are blendshaping up. I'd think about using it for the actual facial rig but 1) it's a bit heavy and 2) users have to have special nodes installed.

At first glance, Face Machine is a bit pricey. However for the amount of time it saves me in creating my base set of facial blendshapes I find it well worth the price. I am however, not much a fan of the the cost for their upgrades to new versions of maya. If you're not doing anything more than making the existing plugin work in the new version of Maya just give it to your customers or charge a lot less. It's a bit annoying having to shift back to Maya 2008 to run it. Silo and Zbrush have much more aggreeable upgrade paths.

My most recent workflow on rigging faces the past few times has been:

  1. Model head.
  2. Put in face machine, setup  and create the face.
  3. Make a referenced range of motion file on the face to see how things are looking.
  4. If I don't like how things are deforming I 1) go back and tweak the model or 2) go to my setup file and move things around if I think it's a pivot issue.
  5. Tweak out the blendshapes in Silo of Maya with some surface sculpting
  6. Use the range of motion file to export my blendshape Obj's
  7. Make my right/left blends in a new file 
  8. Rig things up to my osipa style setup
  9. Profit
It's been a pretty good workflow over the past few characters I've done. I've actually been really suprised as I was able to use it for Lobstery and Squirrely both and they're not very humanesque. 

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