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Using Adobe Character Animator for Lip Sync 2: Triggering Morphs

Here it is. Part Two of dwburman’s free tutorials showing how to use Adobe’s Character Animator (Preview) to animate mouths for LightWave and other apps. This time it’s definitely a LightWave tutorial, although the principles should work in other apps that can sample a color value from an image sequence and apply it to something else.

 

Here’s a little promo for the tutorial showing the results of the technique.

 

The tutorial itself is 18 minutes long and quickly covers steps in Photoshop, Character Animator and LightWave. The concept of using an image sequence of gray tiles can be expanded into any part of LightWave that has a node editor or texture channel. Again, this probably isn’t good enough for hero animation on a high quality production, but it’s a fun technique to play with and my have some practical uses.

Here are a couple of bonus notes not mentioned in the video:

  1. Experiment with the different modes for the gradient keys. I had mine set to step (by default they are on Spline, I think).
  2. In the demo I’m getting some unwanted bad blending between the morphs. This is most noticeable on the Oh-Uh phoneme. In the demo scene (done after the tutorial) I lessened this effect by adding keys before and after the Oh-Uh key and connecting the Oh-Uh morph into those two as well. I did have to adjust the placement so it didn’t interfere with the Ooo-W shape, and the tongue is still a bit messed up, but you don’t see the problem in the render.

 






4 Comments to Using Adobe Character Animator for Lip Sync 2: Triggering Morphs

  1. jeff thomson says:

    The character animator is really a great tool for 2d animated video production.

  2. CeciliaMorey says:

    I’m using ADOBE animator but never know these features it would be great tools for business promotion videos.

  3. Nash says:

    I think I might want to do character animation for video games in the future, but before I spend a bunch of money on classes I think I would want to buy the programs and fiddle with it on my own for a bit to decide if i like it and indeed do want to do it for a career. So I was wondering if i might get a list of programs these animators use, any help is appreciated, thank you.

    • kat says:

      LightWave3D is a great place to start and you don’t need to blow huge money on classes. That’s what we are for. I highly suggest you check out Ryan Roye’s tutorials including his IKBooster installments. IKBoost was originally a Japanese developed plug-in for use in the Anime industry where LightWave3D is still absolutely King. It was integrated into the package between 7.5 and 8.0 if I remember correctly and once you have your head wrapped around it, providing you have the “timing” down as a character animator in general, you will find that any of the flashy tools on the market really don’t impress very much. And if you master it, you will get work based on your reel.If someone tells you “we like your reel, but we need you to animate in X”, tell them straight up. “No, I’m faster in this, LightWave3D is cheaper since I come with my own copy and any so-called “pipeline” restrictions are not my fault they are yours and your linux nerd who can’t see anything by X as a solution and yet, there is my reel, which you want to hire me for based on its quality and I use LightWave3D.”

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