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CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
Mar 1, 2024

CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin

In this in-depth tutorial series, I’m going to take you through the entire process of creating a custom set of expressions with dynamic wrinkles for your character using Character Creator 4 to setup the project and the ZBrush Face Tools plugin from Reallusion to adjust all your expression morphs and high-frequency details inside ZBrush.

let's get started

Tutorial Snapshot.

Tutorial Video.

Quick Overview.

Tutorial Playlist.

Quick Overview.

CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin

Tutorial Playlist.

Quick Overview.

CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin
CC4 to ZBrush workflow with the Face Tools Plugin

A Bit More About This Tutorial.

Concept and Introduction

This comprehensive tutorial dives into the world of expression creation and dynamic wrinkles using Character Creator 4, ZBrush, and the Face Tools plugin. Learn how to leverage this powerful combination to breathe life into your characters.

Before we get started with the step-by-step process of how you can create custom expressions for your characters, let’s take a look at an important stage of the process that is sometimes overlooked: The planning stage.

The planning for this project is fairly simple but it is quite important. It is also an opportunity to understand how the meshes from CC4 work and how the expressions and wrinkles are applied so that you can make the most out of it. Here is a simple project head with a texture overlay showing important areas of the face and the clean topology that is used:

These colourful textures are a great way to understand the range of motions and areas where the Dynamic wrinkles are applied to create custom expressions. In this case for instance, I’m using the Facial Editor to pull the eyebrows down and towards the centre to produce this ‘frown’ expression:

Using the ZBrush Face Tools plugin, I can easily send the entire head from CC4 to ZBrush and make further adjustments… we’ll get to that in the next section, but here is an example of how simple this workflow is and how well it translates to ZBrush:

Building a solid reference library is crucial for capturing nuanced expressions in your character, especially during the planning stage. While individual experiences shape unique smiles, the core elements of happiness often involve common muscle movements like raising the corners of the mouth, engaging the zygomaticus major, and potentially crinkling the eyes with orbicularis oculi activation. Consider gathering high-resolution photos or video clips showcasing diverse individuals expressing happiness, alongside anatomical studies to understand the underlying musculature. This way, you can reference both the commonalities and variations within the expression, ultimately breathing life into your character's emotions.

To keep things simple but effective, I like to use Pinterest to find my references simply because the algorithm that this platform uses to suggest similar images is fantastic. This is the top results I got from typing in the search bar: ‘Expressions’:

I personally also like to use PureRef to collect all my inspiration and references in one place. So I usually place the browser on one side of my screen and fill the other side with the PureRef board so I can simply drag and drop images from Pinterest into PureRef:

After a few minutes of collecting references, Jere is what my inspiration board looks like:

I tend to collect a lot more images than what I might actually use to refer to, but it never hurts to have more! However, it is important that you filter down your images to just a few that are of high res and that will actually help you as reference to create the expressions.

For this project I decided to focus on 3 main expression and therefore create 3 small cluster of expressions for Anger, Surprise/fear and an ‘Evil laugh’:

Another thing that could be very benefitial is to generate some quick sketches of the expressions you are trying to achieve. This might not be 100% exactly what you will end up with, but it will give you a target to hit and keep your project moving in one direction:

An extra step that I find particularly useful, is to do a paint over using your prefered reference image and the expressions range to figure out how you can adjust the CC4 base to match a reference.

I like to emulate a quick expression using the generic project, in this case a simple smile:

Here is a comparison of the neutral expression and the simple smile:

Then I took one of my reference images, and in Photoshop, I applied the colours of the range distribution over the photo to see how I could push the base mesh. In the image below, take a look at the light pink areas for the cheeks and the almost non-existing red section for the top lip. These are very important visual cues that I would pay attention too if I were to recreate this specific expression with a similar custom character (skinny and old):

Project Setup

Detailing the skinTo start with the practical steps, let’s setup the project first and get our base mesh ready before we add any expressions or wrinkles.

In CC4, I used Kevin one of the male default projects. You can use any character from CC4 but I like Kevin as a base because it is a scanned human and it gives me some extra nice details.

With the character selected, you can use the Modify tab to morph the head and body into the shape that you wand for your character. You can be very precise and adjust a lot of very specific parts of the body and face:

I wanted something quite different to the default project so I exaggerated the proportions and face features. I also like to temporarily turn of the body textures so I can have a better read of the volumes I’m changing.

From the texture tab of the modify window, you can shift + click select all the textures of the body and turn them off:

If the skin looks too white or overexposed you can change the Diffuse colour to a darker grey using the swatches from the Material Settings section:

After a few minutes of tweaking (playing with morphs sliders), I landed on this shape for the head of character:

However, I wanted more control over the shapes, and ZBrush makes that pretty easy. Plus, if you decide you don't want to stick with a human character and fancy turning it into an elf with pointy ears or something, ZBrush is great for those kinds of adjustments.

This step of adjusting the base mesh in ZBrush is really easy. From CC4, you can go to Plugins ? ZBrush Face Tools > Face Tools:

then select ‘Base Model Only’ form the pop up window and hit ‘OK’

The next pop up window allows to to specify some of the parameters to send to ZBrush. In this case, I set the Action to ‘Create New’ so that CC4 creates a new project with the character in ZBrush, then set the subdivision to ‘Level 6’ and finally made sure that the ‘Normal Details’ checkbox was ticked:

That’s about all you need to do. The Face Tools Plugin will take care of the rest and setup the project in ZBrush using the Normal Map from CC4 as the details in the highest subdivision levels in ZBrush.

To visualise the normal details that are sent from CC4 to ZBrush you can click on the ‘Detail Layer’ switch from the ZBrush Face Tools panel (in the Plugins palette). Make sure you are in the highest subdivision level so you can see all the nice details:

In ZBrush you can use the move, standard and smooth brushes to refine the look of you character. In my case I wanted a flatter head with a shorter forehead and thicker nose so I adjusted the head in the lowest subdivision level to make the process easier.

The advantage of having the multiple subdivision levels in the model, is that you can go back and forth between higher and lower subdivision levels to adjust either large portions of the mesh (at level 1) and define folds and crevices on a higher level (at level 4 or higher):

After a bit of tweaking of the base mesh, this is the character I ended up with:

Once you are finished with the edits to the base of you character, you can simply click on the ‘Update to Character Creator’ button (at the bottom of the ZBrush Face Tools plugin), and ZBrush will send everything back to CC4.

From the pop up window you just need to make sure that you ‘Base Mesh’ switch enabled so that ZBrush knows that we want to update just the base model at this stage.

Back in CC4, you’ll get another pop up window so make sure all checkboxes are ticked (except texture which should be greyed out since we didn’t tweak the texture yet).

At this point we’ve only updated the base model to make it a bit more interesting. I like to test a couple of expressions on this updated model to make sure that there range is good and there are no weird artifacs.

Using the Facial editor you can just select areas of the face and pull them around to see the effect in real time.

So to wrap up this first stage of the process, here is a comparison between what we setup in CC4 and what we ended up with after the adjustments in ZBrush:

Detailing the Skin

One of the biggest advantages of the connection between CC4 and ZBrush is, of course, that you can leverage the ZBrush capabilities and features to sculpt intricate set of details into your characters.

In this next stage we are going to concentrate on the skin details. One of my favourite resources to study the intricacies of the skin patters is a website by Photographer Daniel Boschung: https://www.danielboschung.com/ This website has a bunch of portraits with an incredible high resolution that allows you to zoom in into every single pore and skin imperfection:

To start with the process of sculpting details in ZBrush, you can utilise the skin details that come from CC4 since we originally brought in the Normal map as details. To visualise the details, make sure you click on the ‘Detail Layer’ switch from the Face Tools Plugin and that you are in the 7th subdivision level (or 6th depending on which one you sent from CC4) so that the details are nice and crisp.

For my project I wanted to cover every aspect of the sculpting process so I decided to sculpt my own set of skin details. However, I still think that is very useful to take advantage of the details layer that come from CC4. So I used smoothing brushes to reduce the influence of the details from CC4 but keeping a tiny bit of the surface deformations.

Since the subdivision level is pretty high and there are lots of polygons, the standard smoothing brush might not be give you the result you expect. In the ZBrush lightbox, you can go to the brushes folder and within it fin the ‘smoothing’ brushes to load the ‘Smooth Stronger’. This brush will have a much stronger effect and help you to smooth things out at a higher subdivision level.

Although you can use any of the standard brushes in ZBrush to sculpt details, I used a custom set of brushes that I’ve design specifically to add high-frequency details to any skin type. This is not necessarily a shortcut but it does help to speed up the process and give you control over the placement of certain details.

At the highest subdivision level, I created the base of the details which is a combination of a simple skin pattern, bumps and smoothing peaks:

In the custom brushes pack there are various brushes for specific purposes and areas of the face so I used the eyelid pattern for the eyelids and the stretch pores for the areas closer to the nasolabial fold (smile lines):

Ultimately, the process of sculpting details is all about patience and really spending the time to add the right type of pores or details in the right areas.

Once you are happy with the base details of the skin you can send them back to CC4 and the plugin will automatically convert those high-frequency details into normal information.

So in this case, after you click the ‘Update to Character Creator’ button, we only need to select the ‘Details > Normal’ switch from the pop up window, basically to transfer all de ZBrush details in to a Normal Map that CC4 can use.

If you happen to get an ‘error’ like the image below, don’t panic. This is because if you don’t add details to other objects like the Teeth, Eyes or Tong, and you forget untick the checkboxes from the pop up window (image above) The plugin will try to create a normal map from a high subdivision level and those objects don’t have any details in my case… so just click OK.

That’s about it. Here is a quick comparison of the default details and the custom details I created as a base in ZBrush:

I decided to stylise and exaggerate my details a bit more to make my character look a bit older with some more memory folds and wrinkles so back in ZBrush I spend a bit more time working on the custom details until I had this:

Updating the details is another very simple process following the same steps I covered before. However, this time I selected the 4096 switch from the ‘Texture Size’ section of the pop up window when send it back to CC4. This allows me to have a lot more resolution so the details in CC4 will be a lot crispier and well defined.

After updating the details map into CC4 here is what my project is looking like:

Keep in mind that we’ve only tweaked two basic things so far: The base mesh overall shape and the details layer. We still need to go through the expressions and Dynamic Wrinkles to create a convincing effect for the deformations of the face.

Texture Polypaint

Another very cool feature of the Face Tool Plugin is the texturing portion. I wanted to cover a bit of the texturing process as polypaint to give you some extra tips and tricks before we start with the expressions.

So, within the Face Tools Plugin, you can click on the ‘Diffuse’ switch at the top. This switch will essentially enable the Albedo colour from CC4 as texture in ZBrush:

In order to modify this texture in ZBrush you need to first convert the information from the texture map into polypaint. This requires you to be at the highest subdivision level so you can capture as much detail as possible from the textures, and then from the Polypaint palette click on the Polypaint From Texture button:

Once you click on the Polypaint From Texture, ZBrush will project the texture map in to all the polygons of your mesh recreating the texture as vertex colour (or polypaint in ZBrush).

One think I like to do every now and again when I’m working with textures in ZBrush, is to enable the ‘Flat’ render type from the Render Palette. This is a great way to see a shadeless version of your texture without any information of the material so you can see the true values and hues of your texture:

In terms of the process, the polypainting techniques are pretty similar to the sculpting ones. It is all about subtulties and patience… I like to use the Standard Brush (turning ZAdd off and enabling the RGB), with the Stroke set to Colour Spray and using Alpha 08 that comes with ZBrush.

This simple settings should give you a lot of variation and control:

You can also Click and Drag from the colour selection in ZBrush to pick up the colour or press the letter ‘c’ while you hover over the mesh.

for my character, I chose a dark desaturated blue colour to add a subtle shade of blue around the eyes region. I also reduced the RGB opacity value to something like 25% so that I have more gradual transition and ultimately more control over the placement of this new hue.

You can keep tweaking the standard brush to add all sorts of details. For instance, you can change the stroke to ‘DragRect’ and use the alpha 22 (also comes with ZBrush) to add small veins and tiny blood vessels like I’ve done here on the nostrils… they are pretty subtle:

Another of my favourite tricks in ZBrush when it comes to texturing, is to use the masking features in the Masking palette to create custom mask and variate the albedo colour.

For example, you can use the Mask By Cavity button to mask all the deep crevices and details on the surface. This is a great way to also visualise the intensity of some of the wrinkles and details that we manually added:

not only you have a ‘one-click-operation’ to mask all your details but you can also use the ‘Adjust Mask’ section to blur the mask a bit and create a softer transition to the unmasked areas:

The rest is more of the same, I like to invert the mask and hide it and then with a darker red tone, I can highlight some of those deep crevices like the wrinkles around the eyes:

Other masking feature I really like are the Mask by PeaksAndValleys this will give you a more random mask patter, but it is perfect to generate a subtle variation like ‘sunburn’ patches.

with any mask that you generate, you can also use the Adjust colours button from the Polypaint palette to adjust the hues, contrast and gamma:

If you use the same tool (adjust colours) without any mask you can totally change the colour palette of you skin… just for fun here is a ‘zombie’ version of my skin palette:

I intentionally wanted to make a drastic change of colour just so that I can show you one of my favorite feature of this entire workflow… so here it is:

Let’s say that you are happy with the polypaing and all the colour changes you’ve made. You can go ahead and click the Update to Character Creator and from the pop up window choose only the Polypaint > Diffuse (and your texture resolution, I chose 4096).

The plugin will take care of the rest… it will convert all your changes from the polypaint into a new textures and send it to CC4 with one click:

Back in CC4 is where the magic happens… you’ll get a pop up window and since we are now sending a new texture map to CC4, the ‘Auto Adjust Texture’ section is available so make sure you tick the ‘Apply Head Colour to Body’ check box:

Then when you hit ‘update’ CC4 is going to import the new texture (from ZBrush polypaint):

And, here is why this is so cool… CC4 will match the colour adjustments you did to the head, to the entire body of the character so it feels totally integrated!

At the end I went back and reverted the ‘zombie’ skin changes and ended up with something like this:

Adjusting Expressions

Alright! time to get into the custom expression… this is where all the fuzz is about!

So far we’ve updated the base mesh, the basic layer of high-frequency details and the texture so as a ‘static’ character it looks cool BUT, we want something that we can animate and get a natural set of expressions so this is what this next stage is for.

In CC4 I used the Face editor to create a quick smiling expression: I just added a bit of squinting, raised the eyebrows a tiny bit and push the corners of the mouth app and here is my smiling character:

Not a bad smile right? but it could definitely be improved… Currently, even thought I’m using the default morphs and the sliders I think are involved in the smiling, I’m getting more of a ‘nervous smile’ so it doesn’t feel very genuine.

This is where the real power of the ZBrush Face Tools come into play as the plugin allows us to customise and work on just 13 areas of the face (expression morphs) and based on those CC4 can create a whole range of expressions for our character.

The way the editing expression works in ZBrush is also very simple… form the plugin all you need to do is click on one of the switches containing an expression and edit the range

For instance, let’s start with the ‘Mouth Smile’ This one is clearly the one that is given us the ‘fake’ or ‘nervous’ smile and this could simple be the result of the adjustments we did for the head base.

Clicking on the Mouth Smile switch, will essentially enable a unique sculpting layer in the head subtool in ZBrush so you can edit the changes of just the are involved in smiling.

In fact, there is a pretty cool tool in the plugin called ‘Range’ so after you enable your expression to edit, you can also click on the switch called ‘Range’ next to ‘Diffuse’ and this will enable a temporary texture map applied to the head that will show you exactly the areas you can tweak for this specific expression you have selected:

Now, when it comes to adjusting expressions, I’d suggest you follow the same workflow we used to edit the base mesh of the character. Basically the rule of thumbs is: to make large proportional changes use the lowest subdivision levels and to sculpt or adjust small things use the highest subdivision level.

Another handy feature of the plugin, is that it send the character from CC4 with polygroups, so you can hold Ctrl + Shift and click on a polygroup to isolated. This is particularly useful in areas like the mouth:

So using the Move topological brush with AccuCurve enabled at subdivision level 1, I adjusted the corners of the mouth pushing them up to create a more natural smile and then started to move up in subdivision levels to sculpt the volume around the mouth area:

I also refined the volume around the nasolabial fold and accentuated the fold a bit more since this is a an area that will be more prominent with this expression.

Once you are happy with one of the expressions that you tweaked, you can simply click on a new switch and continue with the refinement. If you leave the ‘Range’ switch on, when you change to a new expression, the texture range will be updated and applied automatically.

Here is a quick reference of what I updated for my ‘Brows Drop’ morph:

Here is what I adjusted for the ‘Mouth Frown’:

And a bit of the ‘mouth pucker’:

Just like this, you can adjust all 13 expression morphs and once you are happy with the edits, you can click on Update to Character Creator button, but this time the selection from the pop up window is going to be different!

We are not going to update the texture, the base mesh or the details which are part of the ‘Base update’ section (we have done that already). We need to update the Expression so make sure you enable the ‘Update Expression / wrinkle’ section and turn off the ‘Base Update’ section.

Then from the Expression sections we want to enable only the Expression Morph switch and select all the expression that you have updated. you can actually edit and update expressions and wrinkles in a single pass but to keep things organised we’ll focus only on expressions first.

Back in CC4, I tested the smile expression with the facial editor and straightaway the difference between the default expression and the custom one for the smile, is significant.

Here are quick expression test involving some of the morphs I changed in ZBrush:

And just so you have a better reference of how important and powerful this process is, here is a comparison between the default smile expression you get from CC4 after deign your base mesh, and the more natural and genuine smile you can achieve with a simple adjustment in you custom expressions:

Sculpting the Dynamic Wrinkles

After completing the core 13 expression morphs we can move on into adding some details to the expressions with the Dynamic Wrinkles. This feature from CC4 is a very clever way to apply specific details to a section of the face based on the area or ‘muscle’ that is moved.

The idea behind this feature is that there are a bunch of normal maps with detail information for different parts of the face, and when you use the morphs to create an expression, CC4 will blend and display the relevant details or normal maps for that expression.

Here is an example of the same expression before and after adding the dynamic wrinkles:

The process of creating this wrinkles is as straightforward as the workflow we’ve been using edit, the head shape, the texture and the expression morphs. There are just a tiny thing I want to cover and that is the level of subdivision.

From CC4, when we send the character to ZBrush to create the expression wrinkles, I personally like to send the subdivision level 7 which will produce 4K resolution normal maps when CC4 convert the details. This means that in ZBrush we’ll have lots more polygons to play around with but it will also be heavier than if you send it at subdivision level 6… not a big deal, just something to keep in mind for your project.

Once in ZBrush, the workflow is exactly the same as the previous one to tweak the expression morphs. The main difference is that we’ll spend more time in the heights subdivision level so that we can add those nice wrinkles and details.

So, just as a quick recap, all you need to do is make sure you are at subdiv level 7 and then click on the switch of a specific expression like ‘mouth smile’. This will obviously show the updates we made to the larger shapes of the ‘smile’ with the expression morphs, so you can start sculpting the crevices that are create naturally as the character smiles.

Another cool tip you can use to see how much the dynamic wrinkles are actually affecting your expression, is to turn off the last layer of the sculpting layers (the Details Layer that has the base details we created a few steps ago). This will show you a very clean base mesh with only the dynamic wrinkles you are adding on the selected expression:

Once you do one set of wrinkles, the process is pretty much the same for the rest… you can also take advantage of the ‘Range’ feature from the Face Tools plugin to see how much area will be affected in the selected expression and make your detailing process a bit more accurate.

Make sure you go through all the 13 expression morphs to add your details so that CC4 can then create a full set of expression with the wrinkles.

Once you finish with your details, the process of converting those wrinkles to the normal maps in CC4 is also very simple. After clicking on the ‘Update to Character Creator’ button, from the pop up windows, make sure you have the ‘Wrinkle > Normal’ switch enabled, the ‘Normal’ checkbox ticked and the resolution set to the size of maps you want to generate (the expression checkboxes should be All selected assuming you edited them all).

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to have sharper details and more resolution so I produced 4K maps by selecting the ‘4096’ switch in the Wrinkle Resolution section before updating to CC4:

Once you are back in CC4, if you don’t have the dynamic wrinkles activated you’ll get a pop up window where you can simply activate Expression wrinkles:

That’s it! you should have a fully rigged character with expressions and wrinkles that are displayed as you change your expressions.

I used the Edit Facial window to select some controls and with middle mouse button push them around to test the effect of the wrinkles in my expressions. Below you can see how the folds around the bridge of the nose appear with the ‘snearing’ expression:

Here is another one that is pretty obvious with the smile expressions and the wrinkles generated around the corner of the mouth:

The Facial Profile Editor

Alright, to wrap up this in-depth guide to the Face Tools plugin, I want to give you an overview of one of the most powerful features in CC4 when it comes to expressions: The Facial Profile Editor.

With the workflow we’ve been following in this guide, we manage to create an original custom character with its unique set of expressions and of course unique wrinkles. However, all of the custom tweaks we’ve created are being applied to the generic rig in CC4, this means we can definitely generate some really cool and interesting expressions like these 3 main expressions I wanted to achieve:

But what takes this whole process to the next level is the Facial Profile Editor. Since no one set of expressions is the same just like no human is the same, the Facial Profile Editor allows you to tweak the generic rig and truly customise the expressions of any give character.

To illustrate this idea, here are the my final expressions for this tutorial. The images on the left hand side show the custom expression morphs and custom dynamic wrinkles and the images on the right show the exact same expression with the adjusted facial profile for this specific character:

In the ‘evil laugh’ expression for instance, you can also see a massive change on how low the character’s eyebrow can go and how exposed the bottom teeth are as well:

Here is the fear/surprised expression also with the updated facial profile

The point is, that the generic rig of CC4 can get you 90% of the way. As soon as you start working with more stylised or custom character, the Facial Editor will help you tweak and adjust all aspects of the morph sliders to create convicting expressions:

To get started with the Facial Profile editor, I like to check my expressions and dynamic wrinkles from the Edit Facial control window. This is probably the easiest way to see how everything works and to spot areas of the expression that could be improved.

From the Edit Facial window, you also have other tabs next to the ‘Muscles’. For instance, the Expression tab gives you access to a bunch of pre-made expressions that you can use as a starting point. These templates can give you a reference of how much you need to tweak your Facial Profile so you get to a more authentic expression.

The third tab call ‘Modify’ is actually very useful. It gives you a much more granular control over each portion of the expression. So just as a quick example, here is the same ‘Angry’ Expression from above but with some of the sliders in the Modify tab tweak (exaggerated opening of the mouth, angled brows, etc).

Now let’s dive into the Facial Profile Editors so we can create more custom expressions for the character.

From the Modify window, click on the Facial Profile Editor. The character would go back to a neutral expression:

From the Facial Profile Editor, you’ll see all your morphs to the left of the window and after selecting a morph, you can see the different sliders you have to tweak that part of the expression

In my case, you’ll see that I cane EyeLid selected and pushing my ‘Eye_Wide_L’ slider all the way to a value of 100 doesn’t actually opens the eye of the character much (it is also partly because I exaggerated the size of my pupils).

So the idea, here is to adjust this very specific slider using the Modify tab.

First. from the Morph tab of the Modify window, I located the morph section that correspond to my eye lid:

Then I used the ‘07_Wide_L_high’ to push that top eyelid pass the edge of the iris of the character… this is how you can truly customise your expressions.

Now, in order to apply this change to my facial profile, I need to click on the tiny ‘thunderbolt’ icon next to the slider in my Facial Profile and from the pop up window click on ‘Ok’ (you can apply it to current slider or to split part, I prefer to use current slider and manually mirror the effect).

The mirroring process is just a matter of clicking the ‘mirror’ arrows icon from the opposite slider: Eye_Wide_R:

This are the main steps of the process to adjust your expressions in the Facial Profile editor. After you do a couple, it is rinse and repeat… Here is an example of the exaggerated left eyebrow raised:

Another cool advantage of editing your profile, is to adjust the placement of the face elements (other meshes like teeth, eyes, tonge, etc) based on the expression. For instance, when my character opened the mouth, the lower teeth were push back to far, so from the Facial Profile Editor, you can click on the ‘Proportion’ button (the fourth from the Expression tools section):

This will display the bones associated with the face meshes and you can just click on them and move them around. In my case, I selected the bottom teeth and push them forward a bit while the Jaw was down. The idea is that after adjusting this, the teeth will slide a tiny bit forward as the character opens the mouth:

That’s it in terms of the Facial Profile editor. You can spend as much time as you need to in this step to further tweak each expression but in genera, there will only be a couple very specific sliders that need tweaking unless you really want to stylise your expressions.

The last thing I’d like to show you about the Facial Editor, is that you can create your own custom sliders to add them in your profile. This could be the effect of a single area of the face like ‘super high brow’ or it could include multiple sliders to create a custom slider with a full expression.

Here is a quick example… I used a bunch of the slider from the facial profile to create this random expression:

Then, at the bottom of the expression morphs, I clicked on the ‘New Slider’ button. A window will pop up where you name your slider and save it within a category. I named mine ‘WeirdLook’ (yep, I’m aware of the type-o in the video). You can even upload a bidmap image with the expression so you know what the slider does.

Once you click ‘ok’, you’ll have your slider in the custom category at the bottom of the expression morphs list:

You can now click on the big ‘Edit Expression’ green button at the top to get out of the facial profile editor and all your changes will be saved into your character.

One last think I like to do is test the full range of my expressions and dynamic wrinkles after I adjusted my Facial profile using the animations that come with CC4.

From the Animation window, you can click on the ‘Motion’ dropdown and go to Facial Rig > Extended Linear (or similar) to load an animation to test the expressions:

Here is a snippet of what the animation does to check the expressions:

And finally with all the tweaks on my Facial Profile, here are my final renders (rendered from CC4) showing the 3 expressions I set to create with this tutorial series:


Evil Laugh