WiseFP01: Face Poser Facial Expression

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This tutorial was originally created by wisemx.

Ported from SDKnuts.net to VDC by: Pinsplash (talk) 18:03, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

First some things I want to share:

  1. I’m not going to tell you Face Poser is easy to get used to.
  2. The examples shown on this page are practical but only intended to run you through the steps, a way to get used to Face Poser.
  3. The methods I illustrate here are my own, please experiment with Face Poser and come up with methods that work for you.

Note: I’m not going to discuss, in detail, a method I use for HL2 Choreography files. Something I find a lot quicker at times is to open the .VCD files in a text editor. From there I can often spot problems or make quick changes. This is especially helpful on large VCD’s.

For this project please close any .VCD that’s open and close all models. Models will show not only in the 3D View but also at the bottom, in Tabs. Right-click on any Model tabs and select Close.

The first thing we’ll do is open a Model. Not every model is equipped with the same expression capability, Alyx is the best and most everyone’s favorite so lets open Alyx.

  1. File, Load Model.
  2. Open Alyx.
  3. You should now see Alyx in the 3D View, and listed in a bottom area Tab. Everything else is still going to be blank.


We’re not going to cover every aspect of Gesture Manipulation in this article. Face Poser can be used to not only create Facial Expressions but also the needed body expressions.

Picture for example Breen’s expressions in this project

As Breen is speaking his shoulders are moving, his arms are waving, all the while he’s seated, the arm and shoulder movements match the Facial Expressions. You simply must create this type of package in Face Poser for your Choreography to succeed.

Time to have some fun with Alyx.

  1. Double-click the Tab for Control Panel if it’s not showing.
  2. In the Sequence area chose sexyidle.
  3. Double-click the Tab for Flex Sliders, if they’re not showing.
  4. Put a checkmark next to Blink.
  5. Move the Blink slider to about the middle, until Alyx has a nice squinted eyes look.
  6. Now click the Zero Sliders button. Alyx resorts back to the normal expressions.
  7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 again but this time leave Alyx with the new Sexy eye squint. See how simple this can be?
  8. Now adjust outer_raiser to raise her brow. Nice right?
  9. Experiment with the other sliders and try to give Alyx a Sexy smile. For this example we’ll simply adjust the corner_puller to create that smile.
  10. The final adjustment will be with the puckerer slider. Alyx takes on a whole new look, in under 2 minutes:


Create a new Choreography file now.

  1. Choreography, New, Save As AlyxSexy.vcd
  2. The Create Actor dialog opens, name our actor Alyx, click OK.
  3. You now have a new Choreography Scene file open, Alyx is the actor.


  1. Notice the path and filename of your new VCD are displayed. This is a visual indication that you are working with the correct scene.
  2. Where you now see the actor name Alyx in the Choreography panel Right-click on that name and select New, then Channel.
  3. Name the new Channel pucker. Alyx should be the actor showing. You should now have a new Channel listed:


  1. Right-click on pucker and chose Flex Animation. Name the new Flex Animation and give it time factors, for this example leave the start time alone but change the end to 60, sixty seconds.
  2. Select your new event by left-clicking on it, and then open the Flex Animation window, Right-click and chose Flex, Copy from Sliders.
  3. That last step may require some practice but eventually it will become easy for you.

Now when you look at your new scene you can see how the individual steps came together by the names you created for each.


At this point you can move the event you created, change the timing, add new channels and expressions, etc. The best way to expand on what has been covered here is to experiment. Open Face Poser and run through all the steps illustrated and then add new events, change the timing, drag a few things around on the Choreography time-line. The next step in this series will be to work with the Choreography you create, how and where to save them so you can use them in HL2.