through my first batch of research i was able to find a website post by paul neale that went over the different types of facial rigging (specifically this one [https://paulneale.com/tutorials/facial-rigging-method-which-is-best-for-you-and-your-production/]”Taylor (2017)”), so skimming though this i can see their are 4 main types of facial rigging mentioned, those being; Absolute targets, Bone based, Blended targets, and “Hybrid bone and targets”, (facs muscle based rigs are mentioned but there description is essentially “don’t do this unless you need it and have a lot of budget and time”). and now i will go through these again but in increased detail to decide which one is best for me and my needs.
absolute targets seem to be duplicates of a facial mesh in different positions (smiling, frowning, neutral, etc) and you morph between them. The pro’s and con’s of this seems to be that it is the “simplest” to create as you just edit a mesh to how you want it and can add more detail with “less” work, at the cost that it would require you to create every facial expression that would be used and would be limited to those faces, meaning you couldn’t have a second smile or frown unless you created it prior.
bone based facial rigging is similar to standard mesh rigging where you create a set of bones and skin the mesh around it, which allows for more flexibility with facial expressions but requires more time to create the rig compared to “absolute targets” and you cant add animated detail to it that doesn’t have a bone(s) to control it.
blended targets is similar to absolute targets where the face is in different positions but instead of the whole face the duplicates are specific parts (mouth corners up/down, eyes open/closed, etc) which are merged together to make the face needed, which makes it more flexible than a absolute target rig and faster to produce than a pure bone rig, but is slower to animate than a pure bone rig.
Hybrid bone and targets:
a hybrid facial rig is where parts of the rig are rigged with bones and others are rigged with blended targets, if done correctly can have both the positives of the two rigging methods, but if done incorrectly can be overly complicated and too slow to use. an example of this would be using a blended target rig for the majority of the face, but using a bone based rig system on areas like the tongue, eyebrows and jaw.
And there they are, thank you to paul neale for creating the post on your website. and i have decided to use a bone based rig for my next step of my research as from what i have seen so far it is the most common riging method tutorial wise (as in most tutorials from what ive seen so far are bone based rig tutorials).