3 Important Ways to Incorporate Blend Shapes in a Rig

What aren’t Blend Shapes good for? A blend shape is likely one of the most useful deformers in 3D. It can be used for all kinds of animation, not just character work. That’s probably why all 3d applications will have some sort of blend deformer in its toolset.

Blend shapes are most associated with rigging and character work, through Maya’s shape authoring tools. Kasper Larsson offers some insights into the most important areas to incorporate blend shapes when rigging. They can be broken down into 3 main areas, or concepts:

  1. Live BlendShapes
  2. Direct BlendShapes
  3. And Corrective BlendShapes

Kasper breaks down the differences while lecturing at the Animation Workshop doing the last two week intensive Maya Rigging Introduction-Crash-Course. Kasper categorizes Live Blends as the ones that only react on movement, whereas a direct shape is simply altering shapes. The last, corrective shapes are the ones used to design better deformations with joint skinning. A great overview that shows the power and flexibility of blend shapes throughout the rigging process.

Be sure to check out Kasper’s Maya 101 Facial and Biped Rigging Course for more.