View Full Version : Detailed facial and lip sync set-up

08 August 2003, 11:03 AM
hi everyone,

I have got a character who needs to have a very close up camera shot while he is lip synching to dialogue, with face expressions.

The model has a lot of facial detail for animation and I’m about to start creating the morph shapes for lip sync + face expressions.

I’ve linked the teeth to the biped head and wired the teeth’s rotation to the morph of the mesh for the jaw.

I’m thinking of having:
- each morph for mouth shapes for lip syncing all on their separate morph channels (for each vowel sound etc),
- breaking down each facial expression into it’s component parts in separate morph channels (eg. ‘Smiling’ mouth shape on a separate channel from ‘smiling’ R eye shape and ‘smiling’ L eye shape)
- grouping some of these channels together into combinations and wiring them for common expressions (so each part can still be animated individually on their own morph channels)

The problem is I’m going to be end up with many morph channels, since each mouth shape, each eye expression, nose wrinkle etc I will be on their own morph channels.

Can anyone comment or if they have better methods on how they would do a realistic lip sync plus fully controlleble facial expressions?

Also, are there standard mouth shapes to model before the start of lip sync dialogue animation, or do you just take the dialogue and break it down into shapes visually?

Sorry for the long post! And thanks for the help :)

Lisa C.Y

08 August 2003, 07:12 PM
I get great results with blend shapes. Thinck of what facial expressions the character will need and model them, ad the voauls and your on your way. Plus you can always ad other ones if you need to. :thumbsup:

08 August 2003, 10:01 PM
One way you could do it with morphs is to use combination morphs a technique that Bay Raitt used on gollum, where by instead of modelling shapes i.e ooo, ahh, ee o, u, etc you model muscle expressions.

In the 1970's paul Elkman studied the human face a broke down every muscle movement. And standardised it in force from A, B,C,D,E E being the strongest.

This technique was used recently for Half life 2, where they built around 40 muscle morphs. Gollum i think had about 800 major morphs and 1000's of little ones!

But to be pretty precise you could do around 100 or so. The nice thing with this is that you can make thousands of poses using muscles morphed rather than having fixed shapes.



09 September 2003, 05:55 AM
hi guys

thanks for the replies. will look at those techniques - altho i think the muscles method is very hardcore!! not sure if i want to invest all that time into it this time... but very interesting method definitely...

have you guys seen this? this guy's done some amazing work...


09 September 2003, 02:01 AM
A great new book for facial animation was just released by Jason Osipa.. some really cool techniques and stuff in here.

check it out:
Stop Staring (

10 October 2003, 01:24 AM
I hate to plug my own stuff (away with ye, shame!) but...

I have a book out there that deals with exactly this. Building phonemes is a bad way to go because there are many common traits across them, and so as you say have an EE sound lead into an OO sound, you end up having to unanimate one as you animate the other. -Bad.
With hardcore full-on muscle stuff there's way to much to consider and it's not something most people can artistically judge as they work through it, it's a method best left for those lucky few who posess a special blend of technical genius and artistic brilliance.

The stuff I talk about in the book is somewhere in the middle. You have shapes that can be equated very easily to artistic criteria (Smile, OO, Open, Frown, etc) but they're broken up so that you can actually use many of the targets in multiple ways (ala muscle). All that is then tied into interfaces that feature mutual exclusivity to avoid conflicts even further, for instance smile and frown occur on opposite ends of the same slider, so that quite literally, to increase one is to decrease another, making the animate/un-animate almost non-existent.

Anyways, that's what it's about. I'd encourage you to check it out, but then again, I'm very biased:thumbsup: -J.

Also, here's a link to several animations done using the systems described:

10 October 2003, 09:56 AM
Oh I whish there was a button that would do all this for me. There is way too much to learn, but damb it I want to do it all.

10 October 2003, 04:26 PM
Hi Jason Osipa,

Had a look at the stuff on your website, inspirational stuff and thats one impressive showreel.

Did the trick for me, I've awaiting delivery of your book from Amazon!



10 October 2003, 10:18 PM
I've been working in maya trying to rig a face for detailed work for a while now. I've done it all, lattices, smoothbind, blend shapes, wire tool, squash stretch, using a billion bones in the lips and cheeks rigged with IK... done it all. and I'm burned out on not having acceptable results.

I'll buy your book. Maybe it'll help bridge the gap between my shitty results and new ideas.

This forum rocks.

10 October 2003, 09:09 AM
I got the "Stop Staring" book and it's easy to read and has massive amounts of helpful info (and I've only read the first 2 chapters). The controls make so much sense. and spending so much time on the modeling aspects of producing a lip corner and tear duct rock!

I also picked up: Maya Character Creation: Modeling and Animation Controls by Chris Maraffi and it has a ton of other methods for rigging the entire body, face, setting up a control pannel with images and key buttons, etc. Complete with MEL how-to guides. Man this guy likes his joints.

Both great books.

I'm finally starting to feel un-lost again. I can already see I need to re do my NURBS patch model into a SubD model so I can get a 1:1 poly cage on the wrap deformer.

Thanks, Jason. You're demo reel kicks ass too. I've got to get to work learning rigging.

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