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Creating Stylized Facial Rigs for Production in Maya

Master Convincing Character Expressions With Hector Abraham Torres


Facial rigging is one of the most sought-after talents in the animation industry. A great facial rigger will have both technical and artistic skills to achieve smooth and appealing facial expressions for characters, whether they’re being created for film, TV, games, or VR.

In this 4-hour workshop, Hector Abraham Torres, a Character Rigger at Sony Pictures Animation, reveals how to create a stylized facial rig suitable for use in production. He shares a variety of techniques broken down into 12 chapters to help you fully learn and understand how to create a wide range of motion for character faces.

Hector starts the workshop by introducing the basics of rigging and explaining the importance of facial anatomy — even when working with stylized characters. Hector’s topology tips will ensure you are able to achieve great facial deformations when working with 3D characters, and you’ll explore the various tried-and-tested sculpting techniques Hector uses to create a full facial rig.

To ensure high-quality work — as expected in the industry — Hector also shows how to create a Facial User Interface with controls that will help you to make your rigs more professional. The UI that he creates in Maya for this project is included as a downloadable project file.

The model used throughout the workshop is by Makar Malicki and is available here for a small fee that supports the artist.

Duration: 4h 24m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Hector Abraham Torres

Character Rigger at Sony Pictures Animation

Hector Abraham Torres currently works for Sony Pictures Animation and boasts credits including Monsters at Work for Disney Plus, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run and PAW Patrol: The Movie for Mikros Animation Studios, plus Max Steel TURBO for Cartoon Network. He’s also worked on a number of TV shows for FOX and various European channels. He has three years of experience teaching rigging at numerous schools in addition to his experience speaking on stage at animation events.

  • Hector worked with us on the SpongeBob movie (VES-nominated) and PAW Patrol: The Movie when I was Lead and then the Supervising Animator at Mikros Animation. He has strong artistic, technical, and communication skills. He’s easy-going, positive, self-motivated, and always pushing for the best with a high work ethic. It amazes me how someone with these solid technical and artistic skills can be so down to earth.

    - Guillermo Dupinet
    Animation Supervisor at Mikros Animation

  • As Hector's teammate, I've benefited from his creative problem-solving and tireless work ethic, and willingness to do whatever it takes to create amazing quality rigs. As a colleague, Hector is incredibly generous with his time and expertise, which includes everything from helping with assets to leading some other teammates.

    - Alex Salmar
    Lead Rigging at Tangent Animation

  • I worked with Hector for several months for PAW Patrol: The Movie. He is an expert in his domain, and he works well and fast. Hector is proactive and can be counted on for important tasks. He was in charge of the main characters and he shone by his solutions to different problems. He is a great rigging artist, always motivated and enthusiastic; it was really nice to have him within the team and to work with him daily.

    - Bastien Boutte
    Sr Character TD at Double Negative