Facial Animation Rig

21 votes
Author Name: 
David Knight

Create a complete head rig, with facial animation controls as recommended by Jason Osipa in his book 'Stop Staring'. Starting just with a head mesh, create bones for jaw, head,neck and eyelids. Also create a couple of spline controls for the eyes and the chin. Running the 'eyerig' script creates a rollout with pick buttons for all needed bones and meshes, then sets up the eye and head rigs, as well as placing a skin modifier on the mesh, with the required bones added, ready for vertex weighting. The rig also caters for 'fleshy eyelids' that move with the eye.
Running then the 'facial_ control_system_developed' script creates the on screen controls necessary for nuanced facial animation and lipsync, using opposing sets of morph targets in order to avoid clashing. I also include a couple of scripts I found useful in making the morph targets - 'split morph' and 'copy morph'. Split morph is a very simple script that derives a right and left hand set of morph targets from one symmetrical morph, such as can easily be created in ZBrush, for example.
Copy morph transfers sets of morph targets between meshes.
Three outer rectangle splines - one for upper face, one for lower face, and a general one which has all the parameters are stored in 3 PEN attribute holders , for storing poses,visemes etc. and making shapes easily configurable, reusable from mesh to mesh. Also possible is the use of motion capture devices on the spline ctrls
Further usage notes and explanations are included in the comments for each script.

Version Requirement: 
any after max8 for scripts, max 2009 to view start file
Video URL: 
split_morphs.ms3.09 KB
copymorphs.ms1.29 KB
unrigged_face_start.max7.38 MB
eyerig.ms27.66 KB
facialControl_system_developed-final.ms126.17 KB


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floatingworld's picture

The Rig Veda

Latest version of the Rigveda a complete facial animation tool principally morph based but provides a starting bine based rig

rigvadar16p.ms 529.26 KB
floatingworld's picture

Soon I will be posting a

Soon I will be posting a complete facial rigging system with all bugs orined out and providing some unique features

ghostpro278's picture

video tutorial

where can i find tutorial video about it?

Joe007's picture

Thanks fro creating all this.

Thanks for creating all this. It really great!

eldany's picture

The script look awesome! I am

The script look awesome!
I am trying it on Max 2011, but when i press create facial UI
the script crashes in the middle and then many controllers
keep missing in wiring the morphs :(

May you fix it for 2011? :)

watertigre's picture

Re Facial control system


Facial control system final

Script opens in Max 2008 but can not select face, teeth, or tongue objects. Is there special way to use script that I'm missing?

floatingworld's picture



nildoe's picture

Hi!:) Sorry i havent been


Sorry i havent been around..i will re donwload all to check

and let u know asap


floatingworld's picture

I have just re-uploaded the

I have just re-uploaded the start file to make sure it is the latest there. If you can not find the tonque and teeth morphs, then you have the old version. Re-download the start file if this is the case.
The original eyerig script is fixed for the skin ops, and is now called eyerigextra. I have tested everything and both scripts work as intended.
In production, the mesh would have a morpher material applied for displacement and normal maps to create brow wrinkles etc. In fact, the morpher material is an integral part of the morph target modifier and works hand in glove with it. This is very easy and natural to set up.

The script is a proof of-concept for the max version of this very useful professional rig Osipa designed for maya - it's not a toy- like digimation product for making funny faces. All the functionality of his maya rig is here including the eyelid part of the rig, which allows for squints and 'fleshy' eyelids.
Please note however, that the mesh and morphs are for testing purposes only - they are not meant to depict production -ready meshes.
The teeth morphs, for example, are just there to show the hook-up code works - please ignore the shortcomings there. You should use your own meshes and morph targets, the production techniques for which I have provided notes.

floatingworld's picture

ok, Sorry about this. I will

Sorry about this. I will have another look at the start file, but have you uploaded the new version?
For me, the whole thing works perfectly, but I will double check everything. If the teeth and tonque morphs aren't there, you are using an old version of the start file.
It won't work unless all morphs are present.
I have a check morph function which you should run before clicking create rig. Thank you for your patience.

Oh - I will fix the skin op problem in eyerig script and re-upload in the next 24 hours.

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