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Rigging: Facial Articulation of a 3D Character

A course by Iker J. de los Mozos
Character Technical Director. Los Angeles, United States.
Joined December 2016
, Character Technical Director

Learn to design and build a facial rig

  • Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 3844 students

Learn to design and build a facial rig

Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 3844 students
  • 18 lessons (4h 11m)
  • 11 additional resources (3 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

The articulation of a character is an essential process within an animated film. The objective is to make the character ready so that he can express himself and act. For this, among many other things, the 'rigger' creates the entire range of facial expressions necessary.

In this course you will learn to design and articulate the face of a 3D character by the hand of Iker J. de los Mozos, Technical Character Director at Walt Disney Animation.

You will build a rig by manipulating several deformers, you will know the different tools that will help you prepare each expression and you will create control objects to be able to manipulate the features of your character.

What will you learn in this online course?

You will learn what a rigger is and what it does in its day to day. And you will discover why it is essential to know how things work in order to replicate real life movements in your characters.

From Iker's hand you will immerse yourself in Maya, one of the most used programs in the animation industry, and will teach you how to use basic and advanced deformers, which will allow you to alter the appearance of objects to create the character's facial articulation.

In a somewhat more theoretical aspect, Iker will talk about anatomy, topology and facial expression; indispensable knowledge to replicate the natural and credible movement of the face.

Next, you will learn to create a basic deformation and control structure so that your character can move his head.

Later you will work your mouth, eyebrows, eyes and jaw so that your character can express himself with total freedom.

Finally, you will learn how to use the Playblast tool, which will allow you to create a small video, very useful to prepare a reel and show everything you have learned during the course.

What is this course's project?

You will carry out the creation and animation of the facial rig of a 3D character.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

This course is aimed at modelers, illustrators and designers, with or without 3D experience, who want to give life to their characters and learn to create facial rigs in the way that great animation producers do.

Requirements and materials

No previous knowledge of 3D is necessary, although if you know something about animation modeling you can get more out of it.

You will need a computer and 3D software. Iker will use Autodesk Maya 2017, although his explanations are easily transferable to other programs and other versions of Maya.

Iker J. de los Mozos

A course by Iker J. de los Mozos

Teacher Plus
Character Technical Director

Iker J. de los Mozos works as Technical Character Director at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he has participated in projects awarded with Oscars as Frozen , Big Hero 6 or Zootopia , as well as in Moana .

He has worked on The Mill and Nexus Productions, developing creatures and characters for ads for brands such as Volkswagen, Range Rover, Heineken or Intel. Also at Ilion Animation Studios for the movie Planet 51 and at Kandor Graphics, as a character supervisor for the short film The Lady and Death (nominated for an Oscar) and in the movie Justin and the sword of valor .

Iker makes compatible his work in production with his work as a teacher in schools and international events (Animayo, Digitall, Campus Party, Animac, Animum, CICE, Polytechnic University of Valencia ...), sharing their experiences and teaching how to articulate characters in a production animated


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • What is a 'rigger'
    • Influences
  • U2

    Knowing the tools

    • Quick introduction to Maya
    • Deformers
    • Bones and skinCluster: using bones to deform a geometry
    • BlendShapes and brushes
  • U3

    Design and creation of facial deformations I

    • Anatomy and topology
    • Facial expression
    • Creating the deformation rig
    • Creating the control rig
  • U4

    Design and creation of facial deformations II

    • The mouth I
    • The mouth II
    • The jaw
    • Eyebrows and eyes
  • U5

    Design and creation of facial controls

    • Creation and connection of facial controls I
    • Creation and connection of facial controls II
    • Playblast
  • FP

    Final project

    • Rigging: facial articulation of a 3D character

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Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

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