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Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters by Oliver Villar

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Modeling Shape Keys

The first step in creating the facial rig is to model the necessary shape keys. You need to isolate different parts of the face and create different shape keys for each part. Here are a few examples of the shape keys you can create: smile, frown, blink, open mouth, and move eyebrows up and down.

For each one of those actions (except the ones that affect both sides of the face simultaneously) you will have to create two shape keys, one for each side of the face. For example, you’ll want the left and right eyelids to blink simultaneously. For Jim, things will be pretty simple because you don’t need dramatic facial expressions; he just needs some basic things like smiling and blinking, so you can keep the shape keys to a minimum. ...

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