Animating Speech

One of the things that can really make or break the believability of our characters is the manner in which we animate them to emote, move and almost most importantly of all - speak, if we have them speak at all.

There are many tools available to us to help automate the process of speech, from the audio itself to applying animations to the figure, but we artists are the ones responsible for the final output - what appears on the screen. We can't just "Do it" and blame the software for our failures - something I see more and more of in community discussions revolving around most everything with 3D character animation.

A good friend of mine has just turned me on to some amazing Text-to-Speech software that I'm testing out in vigor. I still want to do a lot of actual voice recording in the studio for most of my major work, but for tutorials and demonstrations, this text-to-speech thing might just be a fun trial! More on that later.

With some audio prepared, it's time to bring speech into our character.

When I first bought Carrara Pro, I had anticipated that I'd be doing this. Character animation is the reason I bought Carrara, after all. So along with Carrara Pro, I also added Daz 3D's Mimic Pro for Carrara to my cart, along with aniMate 2 and other animation goodies.

There are other tools available to assist with audio (and text) to phoneme (combination of facial morphs to shape the appearance of sound) automation, but I'm going to dig into Mimic Pro. For one, it's what I have, and have anticipated using. For another, I really like how it allows the flexibility of individualizing each character's treatment of facial shapes as well as how those shapes are applied, in a very straight-forward, easy-to-use manner, which is how Daz 3D rolls!

When I branch off into other tools, I'll provide subpages to this one and links to them as they apply. But for now we're going to simply focus on Mimic Pro for Carrara (link leads to my Daz 3D Carrara Plugins > Mimic Pro for Carrara FAQ with links to download)

To begin this journey of speech therapy, I've prepared a small animation using Mimic Pro. This will give us a launching point for this series. Stay tuned for more!