Blendshapes

Blendshapes window allows you to setup your blendshape (aka morph target, morpher or shape) controllers.
The panel is divided in 3 parts:

  • At the top of the window you find the blendshape commands such as “Create controller”, “Blendshape Painter”, etc.

  • Below, a field displays the blendshape mesh pilot, meaning the reference mesh of your blendshapes

  • At the bottom of the window are gathered the blendshape controllers corresponding to the blendshape mesh pilot displayed above

 

Akeytsu allows you to create two types of blendshape controllers:

  • The blendshape face controllers (our specialty ), dedicated to facial animation and using smart click’n’drag on the mesh

  • The blendshape controllers (basic) for simple blendshapes (like corrective shapes, useful on elbow, knee, large skin wrinkles,…etc)


The controller creation process is very simple. Here is a quick overview on how to setup a blendshape face controller :

  1. Create an empty controller

  2. Paint your interactive zone in order to unlock the channels

  3. Drag’n’drop your blendshapes into the corresponding channels

  4. Test directly into the 3D viewport

Blendshapes panel buttons

Blendshape Interactive Face Painter: Allows you to define the interactive picking zone of the blendshape face controller (shortcut: A)

Only available for blendshape face controllers!

 

Set Mesh as Blendshape: Allows you to convert an imported/unskinned mesh to a new blendshape

To convert a mesh to a blendshape, select the mesh and its corresponding blendshape mesh pilot and then hit the button

Requirements

Please note that both meshes needs to have the same number/order of vertices

 

Create Blendshape Face Controller: Add a blendshape face controller

This blendshape controller type is dedicated to face and works up to 4 directions with direct control via click’n’drag on the mesh.

A Blendshape Face Controller is not technically limited to control a face, you can potentially use it where you want. We’ve named it so because it tends to be more often used on a face and, by the way, due to the way it works you need to use it on front areas.

 

Create Blendshape Controller: Add a blendshape basic controller

This (basic) blendshape controller type is useful as a simple corrective blendshape (i.e on elbows/knees). It is manually editable using a slider in the Picker window (same as a morpher spinner in 3dsMax or a shape attribute in Maya)

Current limitation

We do not support yet joint-driven blendshapes, but it’s a planned feature (no ETA at the moment)

 

Mirror Blendshape Controller: Allows you to mirror a selection of controllers. They need to be labelled either as right or left controls

 

Delete Blendshape Controller: Allows you to delete a selection of shape controllers

 

 

Blendshape mesh pilot

Blendshape Mesh Pilot: This field displays the blendshape mesh pilot, meaning the reference mesh under which are gathered its corresponding blendshapes. A character can have several blendshape meshes. The controllers you create depend on the mesh pilot displayed in this field.

Naming rules

Please avoid to name meshes containing blendshapes like some of your skeleton joints because some engines can’t handle this (despite we support it)

 

Blendshape Controller (basic)

Our basic blendshape controller supports only one blendshape and can be only manipulated manually using its corresponding slider into the Picker

Once created, a basic controller is empty and offers only one channel (Y axis). Just drag’n drop one of your shapes in it.

Please keep in mind to be in “Paint & Check” mode (Character window) in order to display the controller sliders into the Picker

Current Limitation

We do not support yet joint-driven blendshapes, but it’s a planned feature (no ETA at the moment)


Blendshape Face Controller

 

Our blendshape face controller supports, by default, one to four blendshapes usable in four directions via click’n’drag directly on your mesh as well as additionnal blendshapes either in new channels or intermediary in current ones.

By default a blendshape face controller is setup to work using LMB. However you can easily change that via opening the RMB menu of the controller and choose which mouse button you want to handle this controller (click’n drag).

For the time being we recommend you to define your controller mouse button before painting because changing it after won’t transfer the painting area

 

Once created, a face controller is empty. You first need to paint the interactive faces on your model in order to unlock to the channels.

In addition to unlock the channels, the purpose here is to paint the faces that you will pick and drag to handle the controller

Once unlocked, the channels are ready to receive blendshapes via drag’n’drop into the corresponding directions

Now you can check directly and test into the 3D viewport

 

 

Dividing or adding channels

You can notice there are ”/” and “+” icons on the left of each mouse directions.

“/” allows to add intermediate (or successive) blendshape points in the current channel. Useful if you want/need to concatenate several blendshape points on a same channel.

“+” allows to add new (or parallel) channels for the current mouse direction. Useful to control several blendshapes at the same time.

 

Spinner

 

When editing a Blendshape Face Controller, the Spinner will change and display at its center 4 axes representing X+, X-, Y+, and Y- channels as well as a semi-circular slider at the bottom to control channel attenuation.

Selecting a controller channel displays its corresponding blendshape point (dot) . When a channel has only one blendshape point, this one is automatically locked. Once you have more than one blendshape point you can move or change the order of the blendshapes.

Playing with the channel attenuation slider will change the percentage of the channel you will reach by dragging your mouse in the maximum direction

Three colors for axis and sliders: white, light grey and dark grey!

  • White for the channel you selected (into the Blendshape window)

  • Light grey for active channels (meaning with blendshapes)

  • Dark grey for empty channels (meaning without blendshapes)

 

Import/Export blendshapes

To import blendshapes, you only need to :

  • ensure the export of your morphers/shapes/blendshapes from your modeling software.

  • Akeytsu will then import and place them under a dedicated node of their parent mesh as shown below :

additionnal blendshapes

If you figure out that you need to import another set of blendshapes, you need to send FBX of these new shapes as models (and not blendshapes/morphers), and then convert these meshes as blendshapes using the second button below

 

Transform Channels

The transform window holds numerical values of your blendshape controllers.
A blendshape face controller have both X and Y channels values while a basic one only relies on Y (since it only relies on a single float parameter)

Curves

The curves works the same way than move/scale ones, meaning that you can edit tangents manually
Since X and Y channels can’t go above +1 and below -1, curves are always clamped when they reach these limits