Moho to Lightwave

iaian7 » blog » projects   John Einselen, 10.06.08 (updated 10.04.11)    

This is the second part of my lipsync scripting efforts; taking Moho phoneme animations to Lightwave’s keyframe format for channel envelops.

This project has moved on to become a native widget for OS X, supporting both Lightwave and After Effects keyframe formats.

Check out the LipSync download page to get the official app, or continue reading for details on the process and development.

Using Moho format exports from Papagayo, Yolo, or JLipSync (the latter two needing translation to Preston Blair phonemes), this script can take the simple frame data and format it for direct use in Lightwave.

Do keep in mind that the data should be simple. The utility works by forming an array of frame numbers and phonemes. If there’s anything else in the file, like comments, extra spaces, or an extra line at the end, it can screw up the process. Standard Moho formatted animations should work perfectly fine, Magpie will not.

Also, because Lightwave needs separate files for each animation channel, you’ll have to convert and save each phoneme used in the lipsync animation. To make it a bit easier, I’ve filtered for phonemes that aren’t used. If a phoneme doesn’t show up in the Moho animation, you’ll get a dialogue box telling you so. Many short animations may only use 6 of the 9 Preston Blair phonemes, cutting down on the amount of keyframe files and channel replace routines needed in Lightwave.

The workflow can basically follow this outline:

1: Rough out, refine, and even finalise your lipsync animation in the application of your choice. Papagayo will export directly to a Preston Blair phoneme set using Moho file formats. Yolo and JLipSync require translation from phonetical phonemes to Preston Blair (see the first part of this project), but will also output Moho files. Be aware that Yolo will export every frame, not just phoneme changes, so importing the animation into Lightwave will essentially create stepped keyframe animation no matter what keyframe method is requested.

2: Copy and paste your Moho format animations into the first text field. Select the correct frame rate for the project (should be the same as what was selected in the lipsync program), and the desired keyframe type when imported into Lightwave.

3: Go through and convert for each phoneme, each time copying the results and saving them in new plain-text file. Be sure to clearly label the file with the phoneme that generated it.

4: In Lightwave you should already have phoneme morphs set up. Select your object and apply Morph Mixer (in the Object’s Deformation tab), then go to the graph editor and find the animation channels for the phoneme morphs. Select each channel, right click, and use the Replace dialog to load the matching keyframe file.

That should be it. In case you’re working with your own phoneme set, I’ve included a custom phoneme field. Type in the name of the phoneme used in the animation file and press the button to generate the necessary Lightwave file. Not only does this open up the format for unique phoneme sets, but allows you to convert other types of animation in the Moho format as well.

Open the Moho to Lightwave Utility

Or download the script in a collection of

If you need to translate Yolo or JLipSync style phonetic phonemes to Preston Blair format, you might want to check out the first part of this project: the Phoneme Translation. utility

Version History:
v0.7 — added automatic preference saving
v0.6 — fixed the “E” phoneme translation
v0.5 — public beta release
v0.4 — re-organised and styled the interface
v0.3 — added keyframe options
v0.2 — beta release
v0.1 — alpha release