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Character Facial Rigging for Production

An 8-week course bringing life and expressions to models through face rigging

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Bring characters to life through face rigging

Learn how to rig character faces and bring them to life with Wade Ryer. Wade has over 10 years of experience in animated feature films such as: How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rise of The Guardians, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tale of Desperaux, and The Ant Bully. He has worked for such studios as Dreamworks Animation, Method Studios, Framestore, Electronic Arts, DNA Productions, and ReelFX Creative Studios. Upon completion of this 8-week class, you will have a full understanding of how to create a functional, animator friendly, character face rig ready for a close-up on the big screen! Wade will give you guidance along the way, industry-level tips and tricks, not to mention personal feedback on your character facial rig.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Twice per term
Materials:   Maya 2014 and up Mudbox or Zbrush
Skills level:   Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisites:   Basic knowledge of rigging

Character Facial Rigging for Production WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Instructor background and experience | Intro to facial rigging | Realistic vs stylized | Games vs film facial rigs | Facial sculptures | Facial anatomy | Facial expressions | Appealing facial rigs | FACS facial setup: Facial Action Coding System | Facial rig blueprint | Comet scripts
What to look for in a model before rigging | Topology tools: Topogun, Maya Modeling Toolkit | How to topologize a Zbrush face sculpt | Edge loop flow | Function before form
Control setup | Rigging basics | Set driven keys | Rig hierarchy | Connection editor | Utility nodes | Python scripting basics
Gross movements: jaw, head, neck, ears, teeth, tongue | Head and neck setup | Mouth, lips setup
Eyelid rig setup | Joint vs. blendshape setup | Spherical blendshapes | Building a joint setup for lids
Transfering models between Mudbox, Zbrush, and Maya | Mouth, brows, cheeks, puff/suck | Connecting blend shapes up | Splitting blendshapes | Mirroring blendshapes | Combination blendshapes
Lip seal setup | Squash stretch setups | Adam's apple | Pixar/Dreamworks touch-based controls | Final touches
Facial expression test animation | Lip sync testing | Rendering and presentation of facial rigs

Bringing out the best in talent

Lectures by Wade Ryer

Wade Ryder studied at Syracuse University and is a character technical director currently working for Dreamworks SKG. His previous positions were at DreamWorks Animation, Method Studios, Framestore, Electronic Arts, DNA Productions and ReelFX Creative Studios. His credits include How to Train your Dragon 2, Rise of the Guardians, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Tale of Desperaux, The Ant Bully, G.I. Joe: Valor vs, Venom, and more.


October 10th!

winter TERM Registration

May 14, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019




October 10th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

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