so I've been having difficulty figuring out how to get the eyes the way I want to move.

enter image description here

So I got the eyes to look this way with a Shrinkwrap modifier, which is the look that I want. However the issue that I am having the most difficulty is rigging it to move the way I want. enter image description here

Is there a way to move the bones so that the eyes do NOT go inside the head when moving them? Also I would like to have preset sliders to switch between emotions if possible.

enter image description here

Please let me know if anyone needs any clarifying questions. Thank you.

(Also, here's a video in Maya of what I am trying to achieve if it helps.)


1 Answer 1


I would recommend Blender rigging tutorials by "Level Pixel Level" on YouTube. He's the one who made it clear to me that there can be several layers of rigs to create the motion and control that you desire. A basic layered rig setup would be:

  1. Mesh object - gets deformed by the deform rig.
  2. Deform rig - armature that does the mesh deforming. Sometimes very complex and it needs to be controlled by the:
  3. Control rig - armature that is meant to be used by animators. As simple as possible.

In your case, I imagine that your deform rig bones need a limit. You might even build a control rig bone or two if you want to make controlling the deform bones easier, but first things first.

Limits can be set for bones in many different ways including:

  • Placing bones in key areas, sizes, rotations
  • Parent and child relationships
  • Bone constraints (which are NOT the same as regular constraints. Set these in bone pose mode or bone edit mode.)
  • Drivers
  • Layering one rig on other rigs for multiple driver and constraint functionality. Advanced riggers love building these. It scares some of us. The reward is a flexible rig that is easy for animators.

Some bone constraints you may want to try:

  1. Shrinkwrap - Target Normal Project - On Surface - Align Axis to Normal (Personally, I think you might be able to do what you want with this one alone.)
  2. Limit Distance>Clamp Region Outside
  3. Limit Rotation
  4. Limit Location

The principles that really help are keeping it as simple as possible, and finding the right mix that works for your particular situation. I stacked a few modifiers like so to push my shrink-wrapped pupil above the sphere. Plus I would only need to rig a few points on a 2D cirlce instead of a 3D shape. The Solidify modifier makes it 3D for me after the fact: enter image description here

You can also make your bones rotate from the center of the head so they are less likely to push the eye under: enter image description here

Update Thanks for the blend. I did some adjustments to the left eye and have uploaded the file here. Changes list:

  1. Turned off Shrinkwrap modifier for the eye mesh. I don't think you need it at all! Moved eye mesh closer to head in Edit Mode and reshaped it smoother with proportional edit. (it had a dent up top). Smoothed vertices by selecting all and Alt+O a few times. Topology that is smooth and clean makes for better deform animation.
  2. Adjusted eye bone positions by adding shrinkwrap bone modifier to them all and then Pose mode: Ctrl+A "Apply Pose as Rest Pose". This fixed the ugly eye mesh deformations due to the new bone shrinkwrap positions. Use the Shrinkwrap settings in the screenshot below to get the bones to point according to the head mesh normals. Also, see below how to easily copy a bone constraint to multiple bones: enter image description here An easy way to add the same kind of bone modifier to other bones is to set the first bone modifier, then in Pose Mode select all bones you want to paste it to, and finally select the bone that has the modifier you want to copy and press F3 "Pose: Copy Constraints to Selected Bones".
  3. Made a bone in center of eye as a parent controller for looking around. It is also shrinkwrapped so you can move the eye around the entire head without it going through the mesh: enter image description here
  • $\begingroup$ This is very helpful. This may be a basic question but can you change the origin point to the center of those bones? I mimicked the way you rigged the bones for my eyes but when I rotate them, the Shrinkwrapped eye tends to life itself from the model. $\endgroup$
    – Special_D
    Apr 9, 2020 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe try Tab into Edit Mode for the bones and move the bottom of each bone where you want the rotation to be? You can also upload the .blend and link it so I can have a look. $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2020 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ Here it is. I had planned to upload the file in the post but wasn't aware as to how. blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com/b/j21OzzSy $\endgroup$
    – Special_D
    Apr 9, 2020 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you sir. I updated the answer with the edited blend file and steps. $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2020 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ This is perfect! Thank you so much for your help! $\endgroup$
    – Special_D
    Apr 11, 2020 at 21:44

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