Face Rigging for Beginners

In Face Rigging for Beginners, you’ll learn how to create a simple yet fully functional face rig using only joints in Maya – which will also work for real-time and game engines. You’ll be guided through everything in real-time, from the initial joint setup of the face, weight painting to finalizing the rig. Learn how to create the main rig structure, mouth setup, rigging eyes, eyebrows, and more!

By the end of this course, you will be able to create your own simple yet effective face rig and have a solid understanding of how the rigging process works when using joints. Rigging for Beginners is perfect for students who are already familiar with Maya, but who are new to rigging. What you learn will serve as a foundation for when you’re getting into advanced face rigging for production.

Your Instructor

Jose Antonio Martin Martin is a Senior and Lead Rigger who’s worked on films such as Ghost In The Shell, Suicide Squad, and Gravity at studios such as MPC, Framestore, and ILM. Over his decade-long career, he’s worked on some of the most advanced face rigs ever made – like the photo-realistic Arnold Schwarzenegger digital double from Terminator Genisys. He’s also an experienced teacher, having taught at CGMA and Domestika.

Face Rigging Overview

  • Introduction: Covering basic knowledge of facial expressions and what good facial topology is.
  • Main Structure: Creating the main structure for the face rig: The neck and head and jaw joints. Then we’ll create the controls to drive those joints and start with the skinning of the character.
  • Mouth Setup: Making the setup for the mouth, it will be quite simple but versatile and will allow us to create a lot of shapes around the mouth and lips.
  • Other Elements: Add the joints and controls for other areas, such as ears, cheeks, nose, gums/teeth, and tongue.
  • Eyes: Creating the setup for the eyes, including the lookAt control as well as the eyelids setup.
  • Eyebrows: Eyebrows setup where we will create a simple setup with joints that’ll allow us to pose the eyebrows for the expressions we need.
  • Final Steps: For the final chapter we will be cleaning up and finalizing the rig. As well as doing a test animation to see how it works, and finally testing it on the game engine.

Skill Level

Rigging a Face in Maya is aimed at artists who have a decent understanding of Maya but is a beginner to rigging.

Tools Used

  • Maya 2018


  • 21 HD Videos
  • Scene Files
  • Base Meshes

Free Chapter

Chapter List

1 – 1 Introduction
1 – 2 Facial Expressions
1 – 3 Topology
2 – 1 Main Joints and Controls
2 – 2 Main Joints Skinning
3 – 1 Mouth Setup Joints
3 – 2 Mouth Setup Controls and Setup
3 – 3 Mouth Setup Controls and Setup Final Tweak
3 – 4 Mouth Setup Skinning
4 – 1 Ears Nose Cheeks and Gums Skeleton
4 – 2 Ears Nose Cheeks and Gums Controls
4 – 3 Ears Nose Cheeks and Gums Skinning
4 – 4 Ears Nose Cheeks and Gums Skinning
5 – 1 Eyes Lookat
5 – 2 Eyes Eyelid
5 – 3 Eyes Skinning
6 – 1 Eyebrows Joints and Controls
6 – 2 Eyebrows Skining
7 – 1 Final Rig Clean Up
7 – 2 Test Animation
7 – 3 Game Engine Test


Average rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars
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  • A very good tutorial

    A difficult but usefull face setup. The author is a high quality professional. Hope there will be part 2: creating of control system for emotions using joints only, without blendshapes. As I would like to export these animation rigs to FBX.

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  • Amazing rigging course!!

    The teacher explains everything so well. I couldn’t stop myself from powering through all the videos on a weekend because it was so rewarding making each piece of the model move in a few videos. Thank you again for the amazing content. I hope to take more courses from you in the near future! 🙂

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    • Thanks for the review! I’m glad you liked it and I hope you learned a lot!

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