Isn't it great when you talk with somebody online and you see his mouth moving while he talks?
It really add ups to the experience, specially in Virtual Reality.
That's what this is about.
Creating different shapes so you can see yourself talking when you look at a mirror.
It's the little touches that makes something good to something better.
Let's say you already have your model done, it's also rigged and skinned so its ready to go.
But, you want to make some blend shapes because in-game they look neat and funny.
Well, let's make them!
First, we need to know how many blend shapes we need to make. VRChat uses 16 different blend shapes. These are:
To make things easier in the future, I highly recommend always using the same prefix for each name, so later in Unity it's almost automatic. The prefix being vrc_v_blendshapename.
This gives you a general idea of how I made the different shapes of the mouth depending on the viseme. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if vrc_v_sil doesn't change the shape whatsoever, you must change something regardless.
Now that we have every shape done, we will use the Shape Editor.
Open the Shape Editor in the sculpting tab in Maya. Or going to Deform>Blend Shape.
Now, select one shape that you created and then select the original model. Go to the Shape Editor and click on "Create Blend Shape". Repeat this with all the 16 shapes.
Export and import
We have every shape ready, so now we will export all the package.
Select all the shapes, meshes and bones and go to export.
Be mindful of checking in the box of Animation and make sure that Blend Shapes is activated too, if it's not, it won't export correctly.
Now write the name you want and export it.
You should have your Unity 2018.4.20f1 or whichever version VRChat uses already set up. If you don't, check this guide out made by my friend Alejandro Peño where he explains how to set it up:
With the character imported, we will add a new component called VRC_Avatar Descriptor.
Now it will appear a couple of parameters you can edit.
We are only going to modify 3 of them. View position, LipSync and Eye Look.
This parameter allows you to decide where the first person point of view is located. In other words, from where are you going to see inside VRChat.
It is a no-brainer that we should put the little indicator at eye level. As close as posible to the eyes.
How can we make our character talk? With this option right here!
In mode, select Viseme Blend Shape.
Now it will appear a Face Mesh tab. Using the little circle on the right, you can select the mesh where the Blend Shape Visemes are stored. In this case, since it's all the same mesh, we only have one option.
Now we are talking (pun intended). Like I said before, putting the right names, makes our lives easier. Every single blend shape is in place. But just to be sure, give it a look.
If you have sharp eyes, you might have realized that blink was nowhere to be seen (These puns just keep coming). That's because we will use the Eye Look tab to configure it.
Click on Enable and a couple of options will appear.
Ignore the others and go to the Eyelids section and select the blendshapes option.
Select once again the mesh where the BlendShapes are stored, and it will appear something like this.
If something is not properly added, you can change it from here. Since we don't have only the Blink Blendshape states, we will leave Blink like it is and change the other 2 so they don't have any state at all. Like this:
Use the preview button to make sure that everything works correctly. You can even check all the other blendshapes if you want!
Once it's finished, you can upload the character like you usually do. Again, if you don't know how to do it, you can check this guide:
Blend shapes visemes are a great way to give life to your avatars in VRChat.
I would 100% recommend using them in your future avatars.
Depending on the model it takes around 30 minutes to an hour
to create all the shapes needed, and they look great.
It's a lot of fun making these, so give them a try!