Cartoon mouth rig ideas



I come from a proprietary background where toolsets were fairly mature, but now in a mostly vanilla Maya environment. I have a character for to prepare for a game engine that has a mouth similar to the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil. In other words, the mouth extends down into the torso.

Ideally, I’d try and map lip controller transforms to the closest point on a Nurbs plane, determine the UV coordinates and then map that information back in world space to a lip bind joint to “slide” the bind joint along the Nurbs surface. That Nurbs object would be bound to the spine and away we go. I suppose I can work this up, but given that time is a relative barrier to R+D this, does anyone have a simpler solution that would convincingly solve this for game animation? Or should I quit whining and just do it? :smiley: Mostly I want to confirm that I’m not over-thinking this if there is a simpler, obvious way to handle this design.



A surface rig sounds like a fine way to handle this. Some riggers might take it a step further and have the surface-bound joints drive a curve which drives the bind xforms, 'cause curves are easier to make blendshapes for than surfaces. But that’s another step that you’d have to implement.

If you want to skip some work, there are surface based rigging tools out there. Heck I even released one awhile ago, if you want to use it.


Thanks! This is essentially what I was referring to. I’ll take a look! The one extra bit that would be interesting is to try and derive orientation information from the UVN of the surface. I’m still learning the Maya API so hopefully it’s possible. Thanks again for the reply and the links. I appreciate it!


I wrote a script a while back that does basically what you’re asking.