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This tutorial walks you through creating a basic Mimic lip-sync session and shows how Mimic makes some of the most complex animation very easy. Mimic is ready to go immediately after installation. It even includes a figure (a reduced-resolution version of DAZ's Victoria 1) and sample files to get you started!
TIP! If you already own a Mimic-ready figure such as DAZ's Victoria, you may use that figure instead of the default Mimic figure. You will achieve much better results using figures designed specifically for use with Mimic.
TIP! If you use figures that support injection morphs (such as DAZ's Michael and Victoria 3), be sure to only load the morphs you need. These are typically the head expression morphs, since that is what most artists use when creating animations in Mimic. Loading additional morphs requires additional computing resources and may will significantly increase the time required to load a figure into Mimic.
Begin this tutorial by launching Mimic. The first thing you'll see is the Session Manager. The Session Manager sets up Mimic sessions by loading source files and setting global options. You can edit and tune your session later.
The first file we need to load is the sound file containing the audio we'll use for this session.
Next, we'll add a plain ASCII text file. This is an optional step that can both enhance the fidelity of the lip-synching and provide valuable reference points when working inside the Timeline. We'll be talking more about the Timeline in later sections.
If a matching text file was found, it should already be loaded into the Text area, but if not, do the following:
By default, Mimic loads the default configuration and character files when a sound file is loaded. If you are using a figure other than the default one, you'll need to load the configuration and character files for that figure.
Mimic configuration files contain all of the necessary phonemes (vocalizations), expressions (emotions), and gestures (other head movements) that can add extra realism to your sessions.
Character files reference the 3D model and contain all of the information needed to make the figure move. At its root, a 3D figure is a single object that consists of many individual polygons assembled into the final shape. Posing and moving these solid objects requires the separate character file, which defines the locations and types of available motion. Character files have the extension .cr2 and were originally developed by Curious Labs for use in their Poser application. DAZ Studio supports the .cr2 format, meaning that you can use DAZ's figures in both DAZ Studio and Poser.
To load configuration and character files for the default Mimic figure:
After loading the files, take a moment to ensure that all five Gestures radio buttons at the bottom of the Session Manager are checked. Doing this will show off the power and ease of Mimic while making your work easy. Once you've checked the radio buttons, click OK to close the Session Manager and open the main Mimic interface. If you're using Mimic in conjunction with DAZ Studio or Poser, you will need to wait a few moments while Mimic analyses the figure. Subsequent changes will be much faster.
If you've followed the tutorial steps so far, the main Mimic interface will look as shown here.
To view your animation, click the Play/ Pause button (shown below) in the Timeline. The animation will loop until you click the Play/Pause button again.
Notice that the Display window only shows the figure's head and neck. 3D figures can require significant computing resources. By default, the configuration files included with Mimic hide most of the figure except for those areas affected by lip-synching.
Just like that, you've created a workable basic lip-synched animation using Mimic! Keep in mind that this tutorial is only a small peek at Mimic's powerful tools and functionality. We will explore these functions in later chapters. Meanwhile, let's finish our current session by exporting a multiple-frame pose file for use inside DAZ Studio or Poser.
Let's save our current session file for use in later tutorials. To do this, select File > Save. A standard Save As dialog appears, allowing you to select your desired folder and filename. Go ahead and save your session file in a convenient location.
In order to use your Mimic animations with DAZ Studio or Poser, you must export them as animated pose (.pz2) files. Pose files have the extension .pz2 and were created by Curious Labs to allow artists to save figure poses for later reuse. These files support both single-frame (still) and multiple-frame (animated) data. Mimic uses animated .pz2 files to transfer your lip-synched animations between itself and DAZ Studio or Poser.
To save a pose file, select File > Export Pose (PZ2). A standard Save As dialog box appears, allowing you to select your desired folder and filename.
If you are using Poser, you will need to add your newly created pose file to that application's content library. Please refer to your Poser documentation for information on adding content to the library. It is important that you save the file in the correct folder in order for it to appear inside Poser. If you are using DAZ Studio, you may save the file in any local or network folder you like.
The final step in this process is to render your movie and see the final results. Please refer to your DAZ Studio and/or Poser documentation for rendering instructions.
Before beginning this step, please be sure to save your work so far as a Mimic session file by selecting File > Save if you haven't done so already, or create a new session. Next, we'll load a video file that includes an audio track. We'll do this as follows:
Mimic allows you to control lights and add background images to your scene and then create movies in AVI (Windows), MOV (MacOS), or SWF (Flash) formats.