Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Animating dialogue, part of Character Animation: 3ds Max.
Once you have your basic animation in place, you can start animating dialog. Now this is just one way to do it. I usually like to get the body posed first and then do the dialog. That way, I kind of know where the head is oriented, and I can better pose the facial animation and the mouth to the dialog. But some people like to do the facial animation first and then do the body. It works both ways, and this is just one way to do it.
So let's go ahead and play through what we have. (Character speaking: Ha! It worked! Prepare to meet your doom!) Now if you notice, I've added in one additional thing, and that's this camera. Now what I've done is I've created a camera called FaceCam, and I've locked it to the character's head. Now wherever the character goes, that FaceCam will follow his head. So let's go ahead and make that our main camera. So I am going to go into Cameras > FaceCam, and now as you can see-- (Character speaking: Ha! It worked! Prepare to meet your doom!) So because I've locked it to this head control, it will move with the head, which makes it very easy for me to animate the face.
So let's go ahead and scrub through this animation and start blocking in the lip sync. So "Ha!" comes in right around 5. So if I want, I can select this Jaw slider here, and I can actually zoom in a little bit on this FaceCam so I can see this a little bit better, and then I want to make sure I turn on Auto Key. So let's go ahead and set some keyframes here for jaw. And in fact, let's go ahead here. This is going to be our neutral position, so go ahead and select everything in the Face.
Now I also have a Face selection set here, so let's go ahead and do that and just go ahead and set keys for everything in the face here at 5. So now he is saying "Ha!" so I am going to go ahead and open his mouth and then close it. Now he is pretty happy. He has actually succeeded in something, so let's go ahead and also dial in a Smile control here. So now he has gone- (Character speaking: Ha!) So now he is going to say, "It worked." Well, I want to go ahead and zero out that smile. And let's go ahead and start making him say, "It worked." So again, I have my Jaw at 0, and let's go ahead and also select dialog.
Make that 0 as well. (Character speaking: It--) So it. (Character speaking: It--It--) Okay, so that's "It" and then "worked!" We want to start getting this in towards the U sounds. So there we want oo, but I want to make sure jaw is kind of all the way down. (Character speaking: It worked--) Okay, so wehr, and then open up that jaw again.
(Character speaking: It worked!) Okay, worked. So let's go ahead and get that to an E sound. (Character speaking: It worked!) So he is kind of happy. Now let's check this against my regular camera here. So let's see how it looks. (Character speaking: Ha! It worked!) That looks good! (Character speaking: Ha! It worked!) Okay, so as you can see, it's just a matter of going through and assigning the phonemes here. So let's go through a little bit more here. So we want to get to a P sound.
So here he's kind of smiling, so let's go ahead and just set another keyframe for this, maybe kind of start to close that jaw just a bit. And now we need to get to a P sound. So right there at 44, we need to get the mouth into a P sound. So I want to go ahead and make sure that jaw is completely closed, so I am going to grab my neutral frame here, grab this and kind of tighten up those lips. (Character speaking: --worked! Pre-) Pre-- (Character speaking: Pre-) Pre--let's go ahead and kind of put this down to about halfway and just drop the jaw a little bit.
(Character speaking: Pre--Pre--Pre--) There we go! (Character speaking: Pre--Pre--Pre--) If we select both of these, we should have a P somewhere right around here. (Character speaking: Prepare--) And then ehr, A, and then I want to go ahead and zero out that dialog slider there. Prepare. (Character speaking: Prepare--) And again, I've got that P here, so I am selecting dialog and Jaw, and I want this to go into almost like an oo sound for prepare.
(Character speaking: Prepare--) So ehr. So as you can see, we've got the dialog pretty much animated. So now I've gone ahead and finished out the lip sync. So let's go ahead and play this. (Character speaking: Ha! It worked! Prepare to meet your doom!) Okay, now that's just the face. So let's go ahead and see this on the body itself. And let's go ahead and play this. (Character speaking: Ha! It worked! Prepare to meet your doom!) So now we've got a pretty good first pass for the lip sync as well.
So we're almost into the home stretch. We still need to work a little bit with the character's head and probably finesse the animation just a bit. But just remember, when you animate dialog--particularly after you've animated the character--it's always a good idea to create a camera locked to the character's head. And then just go head through, animate the lip sync, make sure it matches the body in terms of where the mouth positions are, and then you can go through and do your final pass.
- Posing digital characters
- Creating stock poses
- Understanding forces, character motion, and secondary motion
- Keyframing initial poses
- Animating weight shifts and pose-to-pose transitions
- Animating walks and runs
- Adding personality to a walk
- Animating facial movement: blinks, head turns, and mouth movement
- Animating an entire scene
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Where can I download the Linktivity Presenter drawing tool?
A: Linktivity Presenter is no longer available since the recording of this course. An alternative on-screen drawing tool is VB Doodle, which works with most 3d rendering software. Download VB Doodle <a target="_blank" href="http://download.cnet.com/VB-Doodle/3000-2075_4-10420989.html">here</a>.