When to Morph and when to Rig? (Face)

I’m just asking about this before I try on my own. I have seen examples of morph targets for all things face related. I have also seen fully rigged faces with skeletal deformation for all things. I was wondering if there is any benefit that makes one better than the other, or if a hybrid approach is the way to go. This isn’t for some super realistic story/dialog system, but I also don’t want it to look like it’s from 1998.

I do think the general mouth area will be rigged. It is the other things like eyelids/blinking and forehead scrunching that I am unsure about.

I was also wondering about like a character face customization. Adjusting features like many games do… Would using a morph target potentially damage the effect of a rigged area?

Is there a cost for using morph targets? If so how much and is there another way to get a similar result?

Sorry for the spam of questions, I just have several thoughts going on and I would like to get some answers before I start making decisions on my own. Any help/info would be greatly appreciated~

First off, I have nothing really meaningful to add… but don’t sweat over asking questions. That’s what the forums are for! Next thing you’re gonna do is apologizing for breathing! Don’t sweat it! We like the questions. Infact, the more questions you ask, the more you help others by finding solutions caused by your questions! One of your questions could be the trigger to a whole new feature, you never know!

Keep asking, buddy! WOO!

Expressions or customizations = morphs.
Runtime generated speech animation = bones.

Don’t use morph targets for models that are a single shape for the whole body; amateurs love making that mistake.
Remember this is a game engine, not a Disney Pixar production environment for offline rendering.

I have no idea how to quote 2 people at once.
@rummy00 : I have a lot of questions I will bring up here a lot, but now I’m self conscious about my sweating :frowning:
[MENTION=26427]BrUnO XaVIer[/MENTION] : The head will be a separate mesh. No need for that pesky body when it is covered with clothing/armor anyway. I haven’t really figured out how the mouth lines up with text yet. Thanks for the info though. I like to ask questions and get ideas before I get to that stage, so I have an idea when I’m ready. Otherwise I might sit here for a month waiting for information on the thing I’m trying to do currently and then I get frustrated.

Thanks both for the replies~

Not really a easy question to answer as the need for complex facial animation with out context requires a much fuller understanding of complex character design.

Which is better winter tires or summer tires? With out some idea as to the nature of the vehicle they are attached to practical application becomes fogy but some key ideals are.

Morphing is well suited if you need characters that can act a part either as cut scenes or as QT events where a lot of detail can be added to the geometry. The requirement is for characters that have a 1-1 vert count between the main shape and the targets and the use of LODs will break the the targets and the morph will no longer work.

Since the requirement is a 1-1 vert count then each character will need to be unique from each other and animations can not be shared between characters as well it’s the target shape being animated so target shapes will also have to be included as part of the character package as exported.

Cluster, aka joint animation, is well suited to cross share animations with a large number of character models so can be easily authored and share the same animation pipeline as you would with current animation requirements but the unique shapes of the characters being used can cause unexpected distortions between the difference in facial shapes and the absolute nature of the animation being applied.

Combining morphing and cluster shaping is ideal as it will allow you to make use of a full body morph off of the main model and the cluster animation can then be used for general facial animation with out distorting. Well suited if you need a large number of different character models based on the use of a single character model framework that can be procedural generated during run time.


Morphing = Primary character models that requires the ability to act.

Clusters = The need to share animations across a large number of unique characters.

Morphing + Clusters = The need to generate a large number of secondary characters

Does Daz 3d studio support and export facial clusters directly, so I can access and animate them in UE4 blueprints and code?
Or do I needing some intermediate software to create the clusters first?

Yes it does. Both morphs and clusters and if you need some simple animations it can be done in DS