The Visual Computer

, Volume 34, Issue 9, pp 1177–1187 | Cite as

3D cartoon face rigging from sparse examples

  • Jingyong ZhouEmail author
  • Hsiang-Tao Wu
  • Zicheng Liu
  • Xin Tong
  • Baining Guo
Original Article


We present a data-driven method for automatically constructing cartoonized 3D blendshapes of a subject’s face. Given a pre-defined blendshape template of the real facial expressions and corresponding cartoonized blendshape template created by an artist, we represent the blendshapes of an identity in the real and cartoon face spaces with the deformations of the blendshape template in each space and learn a mapping between the deformations in the two spaces. To this end, our method decomposes the deformations in each space into two parts: an identity-independent part that is represented with the deformation gradient of the blendshape template, and an identity-dependent part that is modeled by a low-rank linear model. We regress the linear model for the real expressions from a 3D facial expression dataset. An algorithm is then introduced to regress the mapping between the linear models in the two spaces from a small set of real expressions and their cartoonized counterparts. At run time, given the blendshapes of a subject’s real face and her 3D cartoon neutral face, our method automatically constructs the cartoonized blendshapes of the subject with the help of the cartoonized blendshape template and the learned mapping. Our method is user-independent and only requires a small set of 3D cartoonized expressions modeled by the artist for cartoon face rigging. We evaluate our method by creating cartoonized 3D facial animations for variant identities in two different artistic styles. The rigging results demonstrate that our method successfully preserves both artistic styles and personalized expressions of different identities.


Cartoon face animation Data-driven method Deformation gradient Blendshape model 



We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. We also thank the graphics and parallel processing laboratory of Zhejiang University for sharing the FaceWarehouse dataset for our research. All cartoon exemplars used in our system are created by Xing Zhao and Shuitian Yan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 39774 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tsinghua University, Microsoft Research AsiaBeijingChina
  2. 2.Microsoft Research AsiaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Microsoft ResearchRedmondUSA

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