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Simple lip-sync animations in Linux

Dec 10, 2010, 03:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Silas Brown)

"Commercial Windows programs like CrazyTalk let you turn any image into an animation that lip-syncs to speech audio, so you can create talking characters. In this article, I will outline how to do this using nothing but free Linux tools. The result is more basic but it should be adequate in many cases.

"Step 1: Create about 3 frames in The GIMP

"Start with the image you want to animate in PNG format, preferably at a fairly low resolution so that the face fits in 100x100 pixels or so (which saves you from making too many frames). The face should have a fully-closed mouth initially, so let's call the image mouth-closed.png. Load it into The GIMP (gimp mouth-closed.png) and use the scale drop-down box (on the status bar) to get it up to 400% or 800% zoom so you can work with individual pixels. Scroll the image to the mouth area.

"Enable GIMP's Free Select tool, either by finding it in the toolbox window or by pressing F. This tool lets you draw freehand areas of the image you want to manipulate. For example, you can erase an unwanted background to white by drawing around areas of the background and pressing Control-X to cut them out. However, in this case we want to drag the bottom half of the mouth down, opening it by one pixel, and we'll probably want the inside of the mouth to be black rather than white. Therefore, it is important to set the background colour to black. This can be done, for example, by using the GIMP toolbox window to swap the foreground and background colours."

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