Whether using the automatic lip-sync function or if syncing manually, your scene requires the same initial setup.
Animators pair phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) with specific mouth shapes. There are different sets of phonemes that animators use. One of the major approaches was created by Preston Blair, a noted animator that worked at a few animation studios including Disney over the course of his career. Tahoma2D currently requires the Preston Blair mouth shapes for automated lip-syncing.
While in the most believable lip-syncs, other facial features will change during speech, the most important facial feature to sync is the mouth. Mouth shapes could be drawn in any order, but it saves time to draw them in order by phoneme.
- Create a level with ten frames
- While any level type could be used, Vector or Smart Raster levels are recommended for labeling purposes
- Draw the mouth drawings in order and give each phoneme a label
- Create an extra style just for labeling - something bright and easy to see (ie. red) that will not be used anywhere else
- Using the type tool - or just writing normally, on each frame use that style to make a label for the frame's phoneme
- Use onion skin to keep the mouths positioned properly
- Use the following order:
Do not rely too much on examples of other artist/animator's mouths - look in the mirror (or use Photo Booth on the Mac) to see what your own mouth looks like as it makes each sound.
Advanced sound editing should be done in an external program like Audacity before loading the audio track. Keep in mind that lip-synching is easiest if each line of dialog (or at least each actor) has its own track.
- Right-click in the first cell in a layer (occupied or not) and choose "Load Level"
- Select any 8 or 16bit wav, aiff or mp3 file from the computer and choose "Load"
- Choose to import or load
Audio levels can be moved or re-ordered like other levels. If you remove or reorder audio frames, turn the layer visibility off/on to update the audio playback.
Visit the Edit Audio page to learn more about loading and making basic edits to the audio track.
For optimal lip syncing, audio should be slightly delayed from the mouth movement. This is because light moves faster than sound.
- As necessary, adjust the position of the audio level or the mouth level so that the sound begins a frame or so after the mouth movement (using the top or left dragbar)
- Scrub and/or play the audio to make sure the timing is correct
- Make adjustments to timing/placement as necessary
- If any mouth shapes are incorrect:
- Select the cells for the incorrect drawing
- Use the hotkey "Q" to switch out the drawing for the correct drawing (moving backwards)
- Use the hotkey "W" to switch out the drawing for the correct drawing (moving forwards)
- Repeat as necessary
- When the syncing is complete, in the Style Editor, turn the opacity (A/alpha) down to 0 for the special label style to hide the labels
For a more advanced lip-sync, try having multiple mouth/facial feature levels for different emotions. Some animators also use the phoneme frames as keyframes and create additional drawings to transition inbetween each pairing. Lip-synching can get quite complicated!