Use Actions instead of switch layers for lip syncing

Wondering how to accomplish a certain animation task? Ask here.

Moderators: Fahim, Distinct Sun, Víctor Paredes, erey, Belgarath, slowtiger

tiffanysml
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:31 am

Use Actions instead of switch layers for lip syncing

Post by tiffanysml » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:20 pm

Hey everyone I'm still in the process of character design and I have setup most actions needed and all the bone structure needed. I'm still very new to Anime Studios. And I thank you kindly to all those who have written up great tutorials on this page!

Now when I looked at the section about lip syncing, I noticed a lot of them suggested the user should use switch layers and then align them to the lip sync mouth shapes. However I don't think it's hard to create a single layer or perhaps even two of a whole mouth and then basing the lip sync data on the actions movements instead of using switches. Is this possible with moho or Papayo? Thank you in advance!
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5403
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Post by slowtiger » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:52 pm

Uhm, why? The switch layer is made to work with papagayo automatically, or even works with just the dynamics of the sound file. Why should anyone want to make his life more miserable and construct something complicated with actions (of which I don't even think it will work)?
Ovjeh
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:53 pm

Post by Ovjeh » Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:02 pm

There are two scripts for that task

viewtopic.php?t=8279&highlight=insert+action+script

viewtopic.php?t=2424&highlight=insert+action+script

I didn't try any of them, yet.
User avatar
Nucleus
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:22 am
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Post by Nucleus » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:49 pm

slowtiger wrote:Uhm, why? The switch layer is made to work with papagayo automatically, or even works with just the dynamics of the sound file. Why should anyone want to make his life more miserable and construct something complicated with actions (of which I don't even think it will work)?
because it would allow the mouth transitions to be "smoother" thus resulting in a more natural appearance as opposed to a cartoony flip-book look. Look at GreyKids "La Reina Solei" animation and try mimicking those mouth movements using straight switch-layers.
"Queso"
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5403
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Post by slowtiger » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:36 pm

Have you ever tried switch layer interpolation?
User avatar
jhbmw007
Posts: 378
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:41 am

Post by jhbmw007 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:01 pm

Slowtiger,

The dat-to-actions script is actually very useful. The problem with switches is that, even when they interpolate, it's still 10 or so seperate layers to worry about. If you want to do any point animation on a layer inside the script, you have to first find the layer that's visible in the mainline, and then key all the points before and after the modification so it doesn't screw the whole animation up... Then it basically gets very confusing when you have multiple animations going on in multiple layers inside the switch...

Another reason I like the dat-actions script is sometimes I set up my mouths as, lets say, a mouth would be set up in a 3-d character. I create one fill that is the fill for inside the head, and outside the mouth. This allows me to have the lips/cheeks in front, which hides then the shapes inside the mouth- teeth and tongue, and behind them is the dark fill that is the inside of the mouth. I can usually keep all the parts of the face on the same layer.

And probably the most obvious reason for using the script is if you're clever enough to create a mouth that uses bones for some/all of the mouth shapes. There is no way you could use a switch for that!

Actions are one of the last things I learned how to use in AS but are probably the biggest time saver of all when utilized.
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5403
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Post by slowtiger » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:10 pm

OK, your style of animation is probably quite different from mine. I animate for money, so characters and setup must be as simple as possible, and there's no need for elaborate mouth movement (no time and no money as well ...)

In my current project about 99% of all scenes can be done with just 10 mouth shapes, which contain 4 opening positions in two shapes: sad and happy. Multiply this with 4 head views and about a dozen characters. Special mouth shapes and some point motion are created only when needed.
User avatar
jhbmw007
Posts: 378
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:41 am

Post by jhbmw007 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:39 pm

Hmm... GreyKid animates for money. Perhaps they can jump in here and let us know if they achieve their smooth mouth movements using switch layers?

Don't get me wrong- when I want to get an animation done quick stock mouth shapes thrown into a switch layer are the way to go. I like to interpolate as much as I can, but it does limit you somewhat on how unique you can make each mouth position. Which is the reason why I came up with the horrendously time consuming trick:
viewtopic.php?p=45647&highlight=#45647

Here's a mouth I made using the trick:
http://www.mediafire.com/?8s9jkguhb0d

It allows for completely different shaped mouth positions inside switches that interpolate.
User avatar
Nucleus
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:22 am
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Post by Nucleus » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:40 pm

slowtiger wrote:OK, your style of animation is probably quite different from mine. I animate for money, so characters and setup must be as simple as possible, and there's no need for elaborate mouth movement (no time and no money as well ...)

In my current project about 99% of all scenes can be done with just 10 mouth shapes, which contain 4 opening positions in two shapes: sad and happy. Multiply this with 4 head views and about a dozen characters. Special mouth shapes and some point motion are created only when needed.
No need for elaborate mouth movement? I have no idea how animation is created around your parts, but around here, quality is just as important as time... unless your going for south park. you appear to separate yourself as elite and sound quite condescending I might add. you are not the only one that sells his skill for profit my friend. no one method is written in stone. the base topic could have been refuted without being downplayed as obsolete.
"Queso"
Danimal
Posts: 1584
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:06 pm
Location: The Danimal Kingdom
Contact:

Post by Danimal » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:56 pm

OK, let's not get into name calling. The switch layers work absolutely wonderful for mouth movements. In fact, trying to do smooth mouth movements looks far less natural than the switch layer approach from what I've seen. Mouth movements happen very quickly.

And please, never insult anyone by comparing their work to that godawful South Park.

Different stokes for different folks...
~Danimal
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5403
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Post by slowtiger » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:05 pm

It is rather a question of overall animation style. All good animation books urge you to not deliver your story through dialogue but through means of acting and body language. A good old Disney feature would be understandable even with all sound turned off.

In the meantime, we've been fed a diet of anime and horribly cheap saturday morning crap, so finally we got used to frozen characters whose lips "move" (they don't really, if you look closely). So the audience in general is likely to accept talking heads as animation.

Don't forget that the very same sequence of mouth shapes has to work for a variety of languages. So it's not that important to have a separate mouth for that rare phoneme between J and Y. It's much more important to let the body act out the emotions. My current job will be dubbed in at least 4 different languages, so any too specific mouth action would kill the scene.

If you study live action footage of talking people you'll notice that most of the time the mouth barely moves at all, but when it moves, it does so very fast. There's not much need for interpolation in a dialogue in normal speed. Only very slow speaking persons, or "heavy" actors, or a phrase like "Do I make myself clear" spoken with lots of hidden violence can use interpolation. And these sentences cover the 1% in my example.

So it's up to you which way you choose, and which style of animation - or better, it's the choice of those who give you a certain job.

(And South Park? It works, and it sells. No one would ever call it an example of fine animation. But it is an example of clever stories and a bit more intelligent content than average. I do enjoy it once in a while.)
User avatar
Nucleus
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:22 am
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Post by Nucleus » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:36 pm

"So it's up to you which way you choose, and which style of animation - or better, it's the choice of those who give you a certain job"

Excellent. You hit the nail on the head. and as you well know, different jobs require you to go about things in different ways which brings us to the base topic. one must always keep an open mind about these things... especially with something as versatile as animation. "And now... a word from our sponsor."
"Queso"
User avatar
jhbmw007
Posts: 378
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:41 am

Post by jhbmw007 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:38 pm

I don't think Nucleus was name calling- but anyways...

I still have to disagree that no inbetweening on mouths is the way to go. It is definately noticeable even on moderate/fast dialog. For example, if a show like The Simpsons only used 10 mouth shapes and no smooth movement between them, it would definately hurt the quality.

If jumpy mouth movement fits the style, then it works. But in all other situations it sticks out like a sore thumb to me (along with jumpy body and head turns- Adult Swim comes to mind- eck!).
User avatar
Nucleus
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:22 am
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Post by Nucleus » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:40 pm

Danimal wrote:OK, let's not get into name calling. The switch layers work absolutely wonderful for mouth movements. In fact, trying to do smooth mouth movements looks far less natural than the switch layer approach from what I've seen. Mouth movements happen very quickly.

And please, never insult anyone by comparing their work to that godawful South Park.

Different stokes for different folks...
Different stokes for different folks Indeed. LOL. and as jhbmw007 stated, there was neither name calling or insults hurled. perhaps you shouldn't be too quick to assume so that misunderstandings do not occur.
Last edited by Nucleus on Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Queso"
User avatar
mkelley
Posts: 1646
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:29 pm
Location: Sunny Florida
Contact:

Post by mkelley » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:40 pm

I don't want to get OT here, but this touched a nerve.

I'm a 3D animator, and customers get very picky about lip sync yet they don't quite understand that even the best 3D animators in the world "cheat" a lot.

If you want an eye-opener, just watch "The Incredibles" and only look at the lip-sync. It's actually pretty horrible, but you would never notice it unless that's all you were concentrating on.

Anyway, I'm trying to learn to do this stuff in 2D and slowtiger has outlined a pretty nice workflow for me to emulate. I guess if/when I can do that I'll start worrying about how to make it better.

But back to the topic...
Post Reply