Types of Facial Expressions (New for 5.4)

Generally speaking, there are three methods for producing 3D character's facial expressions: Bone-based, Morph-based and Bone/Morph-based.

3DXchange accomodates all 3 types of facial rigs for conversion to non-standard characters, so that the characters can have facial expressions in iClone.


You can create custom facial expressions or viseme simply by adjusting facial bones inside 3DXchange. The setup can then be shared by characters using the same head bone system without repetitive mapping requirements.

The characteristics of this kind are:

  • The character contains detailed and well skinned facial bones.
  • The facial muscles consisting of meshes and vertices are triggered to move by these facial bones.
  • These bones are auto-included into the Face category during the Characterization >> Face / Extend Bone setting procedure in 3DXchange.
  • Manually adding extra bones into the Face category is allowed in 3DXchange.


3DXchange also supports morph-based facial animation data created in external 3D tools. You may create various morph targets to build natural and smooth facial expressions for characters. In 3DXchange, you have the flexibility to import multiple OBJ or FBX files, with a full set of morph data and do further blend shapes to set your facial postures. You may also add morph data to your existing bone-based characters to create subtle facial behaviors.

The character has no facial bones except two bones for the eyes. However, the morphed model meshes generated by the original one are prepared already.

The characteristics of this kind are:

  • The character contains none, few or merely some basic facial bones such as the eye or jaw bones.
  • The facial expressions are generated with lots of head meshes with different pre-designed facial expressions.
  • These head meshes must have an identical number of vertices as the character's head.
  • These models can be created before or after the characterization in 3DXchange.
  • You need to add the meshes into the 3DXchange Morph List before they can be used in the Expression Editor.
  • Not only the face, but also the body parts can be morphed via this method, as long as the number of vertices match.


Not only can you work with bone-based and morph-based, but you can also create professional-grade facial animations by combining bone-skinned and blend-shaped animations together. The bone animation can maintain the main shape structure, and the morph data can give you all the personality flavor you need.

Some characteristics of these hybrid characters:

  • This method mixes the advantages of the two methods above.
  • The character contains detailed and well skinned facial bones.
  • A lot of head meshes with different pre-designed facial expressions are prepared.
  • Unlimited facial expressions can be generated by various combinations of these two methods.