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Question about modeling Blend Shapes

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Hey Guys,

I'm just beginning my learning path to become a 3D Animator. I'm mostly intrested in games but also enjoy movies.

I purchased the book "The Game Animator's Guide to Maya 2012" and I'm trying to complete the Calamity Jane project, but as I started it I noticed something with the construction of the Blend Shapes.

While trying to achieve a semi-natural representation of a mouth open, or a blink of an eye (Calamity Jane is a low poly model) I realized I was struggling with trying to move the vertex of the lips, chin and cheeks to transform a neutral face into an O face (only the open mouth, no eye leash or anything else) and ended up with a very angular unnatural look and some lines popping out on the cheeks as if the polygons where stretching too much.

As I'm a very strongly visual related learner, I jumped on YouTube to see if I could find tips & trick to modeling poly's for Blend Shapes...and run into a ZBrush tutorial video of some guy modeling Blend Shapes of a Steve Carell head tongue.png

My question then is:

Taking into consideration I want to be a video game animator (I know I must also learn some rigging, modeling, etc etc...try to cover the basics at least) should I be looking into ZBrush to ease my facial animation? (I suppose export the head to ZBrush, twitch it, and import the new heads to Maya). If not, could someone throw me some pointers on how to properly alter models to progress on face animation?.

If you tell me working with vertex is the right way, I'll go with it...it's just that it feels so painful that I have to assume someone else already suffered this and developed an improved way to handle it. Not that I'm trying to get the easy way out...I just want to learn things that will help me get that job, rather than spend weeks fighting some vertex only to find out no one does it that way any more.


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