FACS – cheat sheet

a visual guide to the Facial Action Coding System (FACS)

The FACS Cheat Sheet is a comprehensive visual guide to the facial expressions of the Facial Action Coding System – and beyond! Learn about FACS action units (AUs) and their corresponding muscles through animated GIFs, images, and descriptions.

This content is geared toward artists (animators, riggers, modelers, etc.) and researchers (face trackers, 3D scanners, engineers, etc.) studying facial expressions.

– written & compiled by Melinda Ozel

*See AU 11 & AU 23 for rare reference shots of nasolabial furrow deepener & lip tightener.

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SECTION GUIDE

eyebrows & forehead
– inner brow raiser (AU1) / frontalis, pars medialis
– outer brow raiser (AU2) / frontalis, pars lateralis
– brow lowerer (AU4) / varied

eyes & cheeks
– upper lid raiser (AU5) / levator palpebrae superioris
– cheek raiser (AU6) / orbicularis oculi, pars orbitalis
– lid tightener (AU7) / orbicularis oculi, pars palpebralis
– blink (AU45) / orbicularis oculi, pars palpebralis
– wink (AU46) / orbicularis oculi, pars orbitalis

nose & middle face
– nose wrinkler (AU9) / levator labii superioris, alaeque nasi
– upper lip raiser (AU10) / levator labii superioris
– nasolabial furrow deepener (AU11) / zygomaticus minor
– nostril dilator (AU38) / nasalis, pars alaris
– nostril compressor (AU39) / nasalis, pars transversa & depressor septi nasi

lip corner elevators & pinchers
– lip corner puller (AU12) / zygomaticus major
– sharp lip puller (AU13) / levator anguli oris
– dimpler (AU14) / buccinator

real & faux lip depressors
– lip corner depressor (AU15) / depressor anguli oris
– lower lip depressor (AU16) / depressor labii inferioris

– chin raiser (AU17) / mentalis

orbicularis oris I
– howler mouth (fAUx8) / orbicularis oris
– lip pucker (AU18) / incisivus labii superioris & interioris
– lip funneler (AU22) / orbicularis oris

orbicularis oris II
– lip tightener (AU23) / orbicularis oris
– lip presser (AU24) / orbicularis oris
– lips part (AU25) 
– lips suck (AU28) / orbicularis oris

jaw actions
– jaw drop (AU26)
– mouth stretch (AU27)

eyebrows & forehead

eyes & cheeks

nose & middle face

If you are not familiar with the infraorbital triangle and the nasolabial furrow: You should be. Below are some lower face actions I feel are very influential to the infraorbital triangle. Melinda Ozel - nasolabial furrow deepener - infraorbital triangle - facial landmarks

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lip corner elevators & pinchers

real & faux lip depressors

orbicularis oris I

orbicularis oris II

jaw actions

Support my work;
so I can keep posting free stuff!

How you can be a supporter:

GO PREMIUM
SHARE

FOLLOW
DONATE ⬇

ADDITIONAL SHEETS FOR PREMIUM MEMBERS

Become a premium member to access additional, advanced cheat sheets and informational posts.

upper face action units with descriptions and multiple angles

lower face action units with descriptions and multiple angles

brow action combinations with descriptions and multiple angles

authentic emotion references documented from real moments with contextual descriptions

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