What's the best way to rig a face for UE4?

I’m an animator working in Maya, and I was wondering what the best way to get facial animation in unreal 4 is? Can it accept blendshapes or does everything have to be bone based? I haven’t messed with it much yet, but the rigging tools that come with unreal 4 only really work for body stuff and not the face, correct? I’m considering transitioning a short film into unreal and just wondering if the limitations are too great to be worth it or not. Thanks!

In UE4 you can use both, bones and blendshapes. If you use blendshapes be aware that it only supports values from 0 to positive 1. As for the rigging tools, it will provide face rigs as well in the future.

Yes, it can do morphs/blendshapes but there’s no dedicated tool for messing with facial animation in UE4, you have to work with facial animations the same way you would work with any other animations.

Thanks for the replies! So in theory I should be able to animate with blendshapes in maya and my animation could be brought into unreal intact then?

You could but something to consider.

The problem with morph targets is they can only be used on player models that are unique and maintain identical vertex counts so if you have ten player models each requiring ten targets you can see how quickly things can get out of hand.

Using bone clusters on the other hand you can reuse the same animations over and over again on any number of player models using the same rig, the same animation sets, and the same asset pipeline.

For example if you add MotionBuilder to the pipeline using clusters you can drive all of your expressions using motion capture or the build in voice device.

Advice wise I would say bones over morphs as it offers a lot more options where morphs more or less paints you into a corner based on a unique not to be repeated need.

This also taking into consideration home brew mo cap has arrived.

Thanks Frankie! Yeah, I’m would be doing all custom animation so the reusability isn’t a big deal for this particular project. I’ve generally used blendshapes in maya simply because I feel like I get cleaner facial animation and expressions with them, but I’ll have to look into bones again if it would make things simpler in UE4.

Well something to keep in mind of course but neither is state of the art.

Don’t yet know the name of the technique so I’ll call it mask projection as that is what it does.

In a nut shell motion is captured optically based on more or less an infinite number of markers and that mask can be wrapped to any character you wish and the shapes projected on to the target. Depending on the resolution of the target you could match wrinkle for wrinkle the original source.

Maybe a feature request for UE10? :smiley:

Haha, sounds absolutely wonderful. :slight_smile:

You can reuse morph animation, as long as the faces have the same morph target names it’s not a problem to reuse the animation. It’s a similar deal with skeletal animations.

I’ve tested lots of free facial rig for Maya ( faceware rigs, freeware on creativecrash and so on ) but I always have the same error:
“Multiple roots found” and basically I cannot export properly the rig into UE4…

I’m waiting for the ART facial toolkit but in the meantime can someone suggest a rig which works with UE4 without too many issues?