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Custom Animal Crossing Villager 3D Rig Built in Blender

Tyler Friedel's intricate rig allows one to customize the villager's facial expressions.

Have a look at this spectacular custom-made Animal Crossing villager facial rig built by Tyler Friedel, a 3D Artist and Animator specializing in VR. Powered by Blender, the rig allows the creator to customize the villager's facial expressions by adjusting the mouth and eye shapes, eye color, and the direction in which the character is looking.

According to Tyler, the head is separated into three parts – back with ears, eyes, and mouth – with the rig controlling which texture to display. The secret behind the textures and their 3D appearance lies in the use of Normal Maps, which made the project "2x as complicated" but allowed the author to achieve the desired effect:

To make the character customization controls linear, Tyler utilized a "big ol' chain of Greater Than Math nodes with a single Add node with a .001 in front. That way if the driver value returns a 1, it becomes 1.001 and turns on the texture the 'Greater Than 1' node plugs into.":

Additionally, Tyler revealed that the rig was set up using a workflow similar to the one showcased in this great tutorial shared by The Observatory, which covers three different ways to animate face textures in Blender:

We highly encourage you to visit Tyler's Twitter page to learn more about the rig. Don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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