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Animating dialogue

From: Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Video: Animating dialogue

So now we should have most of the animation done. We're still going to do one or two more passes on the animation, but the next step is to actually animate the dialog, or the lip sync. Now notice how in this process, we've actually done most of the acting with the body, and then the mouth comes second. So let's go ahead and take a look at what we have so far, and notice how the acting pretty much plays with the body. The mouth is just going to add a little bit more on top of that.

Animating dialogue

So now we should have most of the animation done. We're still going to do one or two more passes on the animation, but the next step is to actually animate the dialog, or the lip sync. Now notice how in this process, we've actually done most of the acting with the body, and then the mouth comes second. So let's go ahead and take a look at what we have so far, and notice how the acting pretty much plays with the body. The mouth is just going to add a little bit more on top of that.

(Character: Ha, it worked! Prepare to meet your doom! Ha!) Okay, so now we've got the basic animation blocked out. Now we can start to add in the mouth motion. And after that, we'll go ahead and fine-tune the body once more, add in a few blinks, and we should be pretty much done. So let's go ahead and start animating the lip sync. Now one of the problems you're going to find with this is that, well, the head is moving all over the place. How do you animate dialog when you really can't see the face? If I'm in a front view or whatever, the character is not really looking at the camera, so it's kind of hard to see the dialog to match it.

Now if you want, you can use the Camera view, but here's a little trick that I like to do. Now typically, what I do is I go into a front viewport, or really any viewport, and I create a camera. We can create a new camera in the scene by going to the Rendering tab and just clicking on the Camera icon, which will create a camera. We can go into that camera by going Panels > Perspective, and selecting camera2. And I position it on the character's face.

Let's turn on Smooth Shading by pressing 5 on the keyboard. And I want to get the character's face centered in my camera. So when I do that, now I can actually see the character's control panel, and his face pretty much in my Camera view. Open the Outliner by selecting Window > Outliner. Find the camera and make it a child of the character's head control.

So I'm going to go into my hierarchy here, so I have the head control here, and I'm just going to select the camera, middle-click, and drag, so that the camera is now a child of that head control. I'm going to go ahead and turn off sound here, so we can see this. So as the character's head moves, the camera is actually moving with the head.

So we can actually see this in a perspective viewport, so let's go into perspective view here. So this is the camera that I have. So as you can see, when the character is moving, this camera is always looking at the face. That's because the camera is parented to the head. So what I can do is I can use this camera to actually animate my lip sync. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on my sound, and let's start working with lip sync.

So the first thing I'm going to do is select the lower part of the face, and just set a keyframe for everything. And now we can start to animate lip sync. So it starts somewhere around frame 3, and the first word is "Ha," which is basically just an open jaw. So I'm going to go ahead and open the jaw, just go ahead and move that so that the jaw is open. And then go ahead and close the jaw.

Now at this point, he is actually pretty happy, so I'm actually going to dial in a smile. So he is pretty happy; he goes-- (Character: Ha!) And now we have "it worked." So again, I want to make sure that I have a neutral point here, so I'm going to go ahead and set some keyframes here. So we're staring here at frame 16. Actually, let's move those back to frame 15, because "it worked," the maximum volume here is at frame 17, so I want to give it two frames to work "it." "It T, it" worked.

Now worked is a 'U' sound, so I'm actually going to have to take out that smile at this point, and go into 'oo'. Actually, I want to make sure this Jaw is pretty much at 0 here when he go into this 'oo'. And again, "wor." And then in the end, we have a more of a consonant sound, "worked." So that's going to this kind of bare-teeth pose.

(Character: It worked!) And then we can add in some smile into that if we want. So I'm going to go ahead and hit, set key for smile at 27, and by 29, I'm going to go ahead and put in some more smile. (Character: Ha, it worked!) Now we have the word "prepare." So in this case, we need to again, tighten up the lips; we've done this before. So in this case, we need to create the letter P, so I'm going to go ahead and bring the Dialogue slider over here.

I want to make sure that my Jaw is at 0, and let's go ahead and turn down the Smile. Actually, I'm going to keep the smile up here. Let's go ahead. So I want to make sure I've got a P here, so let's go ahead. I may have to close the jaw. There we go! There we go. "Prepare." So "prepare", it actually has kind of an 'R' sound, so it's almost like to an 'oo' sound.

We have to purse the lips a little bit, so I'm going to go ahead here, and let's go ahead and take that smile out, and also close the jaw. So we've got, "Pre." Okay, let's move it.

And then go back to another P, so right around 40 I need to close everything. So again, I just want to dial that in. So again, we're going to bring this down. (video playing) And then "air"; big A, and let's take this slider out. So as you can see, it's pretty much like animating any dialog. So all I'm doing is just going through and basically following the phoneme.

So let's go through what we have so far. (Character: Ha, it worked! Prepare to--) And we can go through the rest of it. I don't have enough time here to go through everything, but let's take a look at how it looks on the full body. (Character: Ha, it worked! Prepare to meet your doom!) Okay, so we can just go through the rest of this and animate it. So that's what I want you to do. So you understand the process here, and that is, let's go ahead and look through the camera that we created for the head-- in this case, camera2--and finish out the rest of the dialog animation.

And then we'll go ahead and do some more refinements in the next lesson.

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This video is part of

Image for Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

65 video lessons · 10003 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 22m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
    3. Character rig overview: Simple character
      6m 19s
    4. Character rig overview: Full character
      7m 30s
    5. Using other rigs
      48s
    6. Using screen drawing tools for Windows
      3m 9s
    7. Using screen drawing tools for the Mac
      2m 14s
  2. 23m 47s
    1. Creating strong poses
      3m 27s
    2. Creating custom MEL scripts to help pose characters
      4m 39s
    3. Using layers to select characters
      1m 10s
    4. Learning the basics of posing characters
      10m 7s
    5. Creating stock poses
      4m 24s
  3. 25m 11s
    1. Understanding forces and character motion
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding drag
      5m 51s
    3. Working with secondary motion
      5m 33s
    4. Bringing the character to life
      4m 21s
    5. Refining the animation
      7m 13s
  4. 39m 30s
    1. Keyframing initial poses
      4m 21s
    2. Creating the blocking pass
      7m 42s
    3. Moving holds
      5m 27s
    4. Animating weight shift
      4m 21s
    5. Animating pose to pose transitions
      7m 46s
    6. Animating a wave
      9m 53s
  5. 42m 15s
    1. Analyzing a walk
      5m 43s
    2. Setting up a character for a basic walk
      1m 22s
    3. Animating a walk: The feet
      5m 55s
    4. Animating a walk: The lower body
      8m 23s
    5. Animating a walk: Making the cycle symmetrical
      3m 10s
    6. Animating a walk: Working with the spine
      5m 59s
    7. Animating a walk: Arm motion
      7m 28s
    8. Animating a walk: The head
      4m 15s
  6. 24m 15s
    1. The importance of the passing position
      4m 52s
    2. Working with foot placement
      3m 50s
    3. Adding character to a walk: Contact position
      5m 10s
    4. Adding character to a walk: Passing position
      3m 20s
    5. Adding character to a walk: Finalizing
      7m 3s
  7. 52m 27s
    1. A run in four poses
      2m 39s
    2. Animating a run: The first pose
      4m 31s
    3. Animating a run: The second pose
      7m 17s
    4. Animating a run: Mirroring the basic poses
      10m 59s
    5. Animating a run: Hip and foot motion
      5m 12s
    6. Animating a run: The upper body
      5m 2s
    7. Animating a run: Left arm motion
      5m 31s
    8. Animating a run: Right arm motion
      4m 39s
    9. Animating a run: Cycling the animation
      6m 37s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Animating blinks
      7m 56s
    2. Animating changes in eye direction
      5m 6s
    3. Animating a head turn
      4m 35s
    4. Working with audio
      3m 38s
    5. Overview of mouth controls
      2m 44s
    6. Animating vowels
      15m 14s
    7. Animating consonants: B, D, and G
      7m 2s
    8. Animating consonants: F, M, and S
      8m 22s
    9. Animating lip sync: Assigning phonemes
      10m 43s
    10. Animating lip sync: The head
      9m 44s
    11. Animating lip sync: The body
      5m 10s
  9. 55m 55s
    1. Creating the main poses
      4m 18s
    2. Blocking poses to dialogue
      7m 1s
    3. In-between blocking pass
      3m 27s
    4. Animating moving holds
      5m 19s
    5. Creating weight
      6m 19s
    6. Adding secondary motion
      10m 0s
    7. Animating dialogue
      8m 12s
    8. Finalizing the animation
      11m 19s
  10. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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