Lip Sync (LS)

For lip sync workflow. we start with four primary viseme shapes. B/M/PEEAH and OO

This assignment will account for 15% of your final grade. Hand-in will be due at the end of class 6

Lip Sync. (LS) Modules 4-6.
This is a relatively simple assignment, a quick 3-6 sec lip sync piece with one character. You can use the rig provided or find a suitable alternative. We're actually doing this backwards from normal animation workflow, attacking the lip sync first! Featured principles: Posing, Timing, and Staging. 3-6 sec. long (72-144 fr)

Hand in will be as follows:
- 960x540 (HD540) resolution
- avi file with MSCRAM compression (or quicktime with H.264)
- no resolution gate, grid or animation controls visible

Items should be named: <Lastname>_<Firstname>_<LS>.avi
(eg. Latour_David_LS.avi)

What I'll be grading on this assignment:
  • Does the lip sync align well with the audio?
  • Have you created a pantomime performance that matches the dialogue?
  • Is the scene staged well, showing good composition?
  • Do your poses show good silhouette, balance and line of action?
  • Is the animation completed to a high level of polish?
  • Is the scene staged as a mid shot?

This is an example of a mid shot
Fun Fact: Ramsey served community service for being mean to Theon Greyjoy. What a misfit!


In class activity

- Introducing basics of lip sync
- The McGurk Effect and Happy in Paraguay (warning: naughty words)
- Visemes, Phonemes and which is faster: light or sound?
- Making a basic set of shapes "MEOW"
- Any remaining time: Recap of the Ball with Legs Turn and Step (BLT)

A step by step breakdown of the process

---- PART 1

1. Pick your line - 3-6 second long. The maximum limit is a hard limit so
nothing over 144 frames, please. You can trim a piece from a larger line

Some suggested criteria for selecting your audio:

  • Clear delivery: You can hear every word and levels are consistent. Avoid extremely fast talking or mumbling
  • Clean audio: No static, hiss or pops. No background music. Avoid ambient or environment sound: such things are easy to add, but hard to remove. 
    • HR appropriate: No "isms"; sexism, racism. No profanity. No "offensive" subject matter or context. Remember that "appropriate" is a matter of taste, so be sure to know your audience.
    • Good Contrast: Change of tone, tempo, volume or emotion. 2 or 3 notes are better than one.
      • Is the line of interest for you? You've got to animate it, so pick something fun that you really want to try.
      • Audience engagement: Find something that will evoke an favorable emotional response or connection. You want your piece to be memorable (for good reasons)
        2. Audit the rig and the tools. Get yourself a suitable rig. You can work with the one provided or try something else. Whatever you pick make sure it is something with robust facial controls.

        Some good rig alternatives
        Morpheus 2.0, by Josh Burton
        Bonnie 2.0 or Kayla by Josh Sobel,
        Malcolm 2.0.
        The Ray Rig from CGTarian

        Read the EULA carefully and audit the rig thoroughly before you commit.

        Set your camera at a mid close shot (waist up). Create you maya shelves, scripts and icons based on the demo below.

        3. Watch the tutorials below on rough lip sync and polishing lip sync. Give it a try yourself. I'd like to see a rough pass for next class on just the Visemes. (We'll get into posing in the next class)

        Rough Lip Sync Demo from David Latour on Vimeo.

        Polishing Lip Sync Demo from David Latour on Vimeo.

        ---- PART 2

        We've turned this whole process upside down starting with the lip sync animation, but what the heck - it's all good fun. now we go back to the beginning and start the shot the way you would with any other assignment. PLANNING!

        You have a few choices here:

        Storyboard and thumbnail: Small simple drawing so show the intended pantomime acting for your characters performance. Think about showing keys and breakdowns and make sure you have enough drawings to fully describe the action - 2-3 sec is reasonable.

        Find some video online: See if you can find some video that might match the physical movement you want for your character's acting within the short scene.

        Shoot some reference: Grab  a video camera, get up and act it out yourself -- this is the best method. do several takes until you get the performance you like. Play the audio over and over and act along with it. You may find two or three clips that combine to make the perfect performance: edit them together into a final reference clip.

        Whatever you decide, make sure you carefully analyze your reference with particular focus on timing where are your key poses and where are they going to occur on the timeline. You can use Photoshop  to mark your keys and breakdowns.

        Whatever you decide your preferred workflow is remember that reference and analysis is required to pass this assignment. Don't "wing it"

        Once you've got your reference done and analyzed, dive into Maya and start laying in your keys and breakdowns. To help you, check out all the video tutorials by Keith Lango on making good key poses here:

        Here's another short page talking about elements of good posing. The drawings in this article are not great, but the notion is relevant:

        Have your keys and breakdowns, timed out for next class

        ---- PART 3

        Polish your animation using the following workflow and strategies.

        Polish each item in order, using the strategies listed for best results

        addtional notes.