Break Down Dialogue Fast

Lip Sync Pro is a software application for planning (“breaking down”) dialogue for animation.
Breaking down dialogue before filming means you can save time and focus on your characters performance.
Step 1. Setting up the project.

Install the Lip Sync Pro trial, or start up Lip Sync Pro.

Create a File | New Project

Select the Audio file:

samples / audio / I_want_that_one_male.wav

(this is bundled with LSP and is found in your windows Programs / Lip Sync Pro directory)

Select the Mouth set, these are the images you will animate to the audio track:

simple_mouth_set / simple_mouth_set.LS1

Set the Frames per sec rate (FPS) to 12

Click OK.

Step 2. Play back an audio file

At the top of the LSP interface you will see the audio file represented as a green wave form. To the lower left of the wave form you can see the play button. Click this to play back the audio. You will notice a white line move across the audio file, showing what is playing back. The wave form is like a map, showing you what you are listening to.

You can also use the number 6 key to play and stop the audio. Press the number 1 key to go back to frame 1.

Step 3. Create a loop

If you have a long track, or if you are working on a short segment of a track you can create a loop. Simply left click and drag from left to right on the wave form, or left click and drag down on the wave form in the grid. The loop area becomes highlighted. The loop area is shown in both the vertical and horizontal wave form.

Play the loop area only by pressing the number 0 (zero) key.

Step 4. Other looping functions

Use the play loop once or play loop repeat buttons below the horizontal wave form to play back just the loop area. This is useful for audio analysis, and also later when you are looking at the animation and audio together.

The number 0 (zero) key plays and stops the loop area.

The number 7 key toggles the loop repeating.

Page UP key goes to the loop start frame.

Step 5. Zoom in on the audio track

This is useful for longer tracks, or when you wish to have a really close view of the audio wave form.

Left click on the ends of the zoom tool and adjust them left or right as appropriate. Left click and drag the middle part of the zoom tool to move the view left or right.

Step 6. Other zoom tools

You can zoom in using the magnifier buttons . The magnifying effect will centre on the current active frame (the white line on the horizontal wave form).

Step 7. Scrolling

The grid (with the vertical wave form and text entry area) can be scrolled using the right hand scroll bar.

The area you can see is shown on the horziontal wave form between yellow lines. This use of the wave form as a map helps navigate your audio file.

Step 8. Assigning mouth shapes to the audio file

Use the number 5 key to step forward, and the number 4 key to step back one frame at a time.

Step back to the first frame in the animation.

With your mouse, double left click on the “smile” Mouth shape. The “smile” shape will appear in the Preview window, and also be visible in the grid, on Frame 1.

An alternative way of assigning mouthshapes is using short cut keys. In this case, the S key will assign the “smile” mouth shape.

When a mouth shape is assigned, it will stay in view until a different mouth shape is assigned.

Step through to frame number 9 and then double click on the “small_open” Mouth shape. This is when the character starts speaking.

Step through the frames and assign the mouth shapes as appropriate. Use the playback functions mentioned earlier to test the animation as you go along.

Step 9. Moving allocated mouth shapes

Note as you play back, you may like to move a mouth shape few frames forward or back. Right click on the mouth shape in the grid, then select from the menu that appears. Move frames up makes the mouth shape appear earlier, Move frames down later.

Step 10. The final project

It is possible to see how we allocated the mouth shapes to the left. You can use this as a guide, or make changes as you see fit.

Step 11. Using your project for animation – exporting

Using the File | Make Movie option is a great way to use your Lip Sync Pro files in your stop motion and other animation projects.

Export as an AVI, with MJPEG compression, or as a MOV file. These are ideal for bringing into Stop Motion Pro.

Note the options to show the Mouth shape descriptions and comments, you can change the size and position the text is overlayed.

Click OK.

Step 12. The exported movie

Locate and playback the exported movie. You will see the text flashing up as each mouth shape is displayed.

Final step. Using your lip sync in Stop Motion Pro Eclipse.

Open Stop Motion Pro Action! Plus or above edition. Create a New project with a FPS to match the Lip Sync Pro rate (in this case, 12 fps)

From the tools menu, select Rotoscope. Import the AVI or MOV that you exported from Lip Sync Pro.

Click the Sync button on the Rotoscope file, this will lock the Rotoscope footage to the animation as you film it. The Rotoscope will advance as you capture frames. It is then possible to see which mouth shape you should use next.