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Lip Sync Animation

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Lip Sync AnimationIn this tutorial you will learn to make a character talks. I suggest that you read previous tutorial Creating Facial Expression In 3ds Max. The Morpher technique in previous tutorial is applied here also. In this tutorial I will use only Morpher to animate the character. This will make the animation simpler.



1. First, we are going to need a character model. You can download file here. You can open file cartoonbear_lipsync_start.max. This is a cartoon bear character. This model is not the same with character in Creating Facial Expression In 3ds Max tutorial. Here, I removed bones in ears. Also I add a tounge. I also modify the face so it has neutral looks. This is a condition when the character doesn't speak

Basically, when you want to make a character speak. You need to animate lips, teeth, tounge and jaw. In this tutorial I don't animate the jaw.


2. Because we are going to use Morpher, we need to create several morpher targets with different mouth shape. Each of these mouth shapes is usually referred to as a phoneme. A phoneme is the unique shape a mouth takes to make a specific sound. For example, to speak "food", your mouth tends to pucker into a small circle. The word "Animation" could be described phonetically as "a-nee-may-shun" or more like a breakdown as "a-n-ee-m-ay-sh-u-n".

Each morpher target is created from cloning the original head object, then modify its mouth shape. Delete Skin modifier in cloned object if it is ruined. Use unique name for each cloned head. Read Creating Facial Expression In 3ds Max tutorial for further explanation on creating morpher target.

To create animation, I usually create 13 different mouth shapes. Here they are:

Phoneme How it sounds Example words
A Ape Apple, blAde, Ape
I Eye Eye, Under
O Oat Open, OAt, Over
E Eat swEEt, EAt, feet
W OO Q Oo WOOd, drEW, QUIet, fOOd
M B P Mm Map, Bang, toP
C K G Sea Carry, looK
CH SH J Church CHerry, SHout, Jump
N D T L End Name, Dove, abouT, faLL
TH Thin teeTH, forTH, THat
S Z Zee Snow, Zoo, Sneer
R Earth Roll, dooR, wondER
F V Fish Fine, LoVe



3. Beside making phoneme targets, you also need to create different facial expressions. Later you can combine phoneme with facial expression. Usually there are 6 major expressions: Fear, Anger, Joy, Sad, Disgust, and Surprise.


Sample of finished 3ds max file up to this point is available in downloaded file. (cartoonbear_lipsync_part1.max). In the next tutorial you will learn how to load morpher target and animate them.

This tutorial is written by
Didik Wijaya

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