LIFESTUDIO:HEAD®
Designed for  
Games Developers, Distance Training, E-Learning, and Web Bloggers!
or for anyone with a need for live cyber assistant
to lend that personal touch that increases the user experience.
  • Stand alone or integrated into max & Maya
  • Fully constructed but modifiable muscle masks included
  • Real Time lip-synching via .WAV
  • Based on Manipulative Phonic structures
  • Human or fantasy head choices
PARTNERS
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EVENTS
LIFEMODE GAMES

FAQ

LIFESTUDIO:HEAD

• Evaluation Issues
• Saving Results
• Modeling
• Texturing
• Animation
• Lip-Sync
• Miscellaneous

 

 
Evaluation Issues

“Could you please send me a trial version of your editor?”
Please visit our site at http://www.lifemi.com. You can download your free copy of the LIFESTUDIO:HEAD Editor Trial version and start working the program right away. You are supposed to use the Trial to learn about LS:HEAD features and not for production of commercial stuff; this is why Save commands are disabled in Trial.

“Is it possible to have a time-limited license for full testing the product?”
Please contact sales@lifemi.com for further information related to SDK evaluation or licensing SDK for your particular project. A Lifemode representative will be in touch with you if you qualify for an evaluation package.
To get an evaluation version of LIFESTUDIO:HEAD SDK, please fill our Evaluation Agreement Form and send it back to Lifemode Interactive, by fax +7 (495) 959 7446.
The evaluation version includes a hardware protection, so please write also your address where to send the USB dongle.

“I am trying your lifestudio head software and cannot save transformation files. Is the restriction of the software or am I doing something wrong?”
With the Trial or Demo version you cannot save any commercially useful data; you'd buy a "true" package to save your projects.

“Also is there a max or Maya plug-in version we would be able to look at?”
Yes, we have trial versions of the Import-Export plug-ins for 3ds max and Maya, which you can download from our site.
Note: a Trial version does not allow you to add LIFESTUDIO:HEAD animations to your own Maya or 3ds max scenes; you can only play ready scenes created elsewhere, such as sample files shipped with the Trial plug-in.

“We have decided to buy the package, but we must know which version we need:
we only need to export some expressions of the created model along with the full appearance that we see inside LIFESTUDIO:HEAD ... no speech recognition needed, no animation needed.... Which version do we need?”

You may always start with the lightest version of LIFESTUDIO:HEAD. You may upgrade then if you like.

“We have downloaded the demo, but, because the project needs low polygon
models, we need to test the export plug-in from a head developed by us and
not from the ready one included in the tutorials.”

You know, in LIFESTUDIO:HEAD Editor you can create your model from a head prototype by just moving shape sliders. Then for each created head you automatically get a set of similar models with different Level-Of-Detail (high to low - from about 6500 to 350 polygons). To test models with different LOD, you reload different prototypes (LSH files) included in LS:HEAD.
If your model is very specific, and you cannot shape it from LS:HEAD prototypes, you’ll need the Muscles Setup plug-in to embed LS:HEAD animation controls into your model. This plug-in (available for Maya and 3ds max) can also help you to transfer a standard set of LS:HEAD animation muscles to your model; then you can immediately animate your model, including automated lip-sync.

Saving Results

“Well, I’ve created a lot of stuff using the Editor, and what then?”
You can export your models and animations rendered in Editor as AVI files or as a sequence of still images in PNG, TIFF or TGA format. Also, you can export an animation created in LIFESTUDIO:HEAD Editor as a sequence of 3D mesh objects, with each frame in a separate OBJ  file. When you export such a sequence, LS:HEAD numbers the files automatically.
Native formats (such as MMT, GDP, MMA, MMS and other) allow you to store data between Editor sessions, and also exchange data with 3ds max and Maya by using LS:HEAD plug-ins.

“Is the exported .obj file the Wavefront file format?”
Yes; also the Editor provides MTL files, which describe the materials used in Wavefront OBJ files.

“Tried to export a mesh from a figure and got only the mesh .obj file. The .mtl file is pointing to .tga textures. I could not find the textures files... Is this a bug or something I am doing wrong?”
You should save the textures in separate image files as described in online Help: "To store flattened textures also in separate image files, in the Save As Personage tab of the Options dialog box, select the Flattened Textures as Separate Files check box. When you apply the Model - Save As - Personage menu command, you'll be prompted for texture file names and location. Then you can also change the file name extension (such as PNG or TGA) to select the image format you need."

“I have tried to create .obj files with Editor and understand it works with the keyframes setting, however running the animation and save movie does not seem to save the .obj file? Is this the correct method?”
Editor can save either a movie or a sequence of keyframes, not both at the same time. To choose the option, use the following playback controls:

  • The Enable / Disable Movie Recording button toggles Save Movie mode. When enabled, a copy of the output animation sequence, rendered in the Model window, is saved as an AVI file every time you start playback. 
  • The Enable / Disable Keyframe Recording button enables or disables Save Key Frames recording mode. When enabled, a set of keyframes' data is saved every time you start playback

 “Is there a way of having Anti-Aliasing working in the AVI file output?”
The current version of LIFESTUDIO:HEAD offers no anti-aliasing when recording AVI files; it is rather a way to render images of a preview quality. For high-quality rendering you may want to import LS:HEAD models into 3ds max or Maya by using Import-Export plug-ins.

Modeling

"Can we import a head from Maya or do we have to mold to create one in LifeMode?"
Usually you create a head in LS:HEAD Editor by moving shape sliders and applying ready textures. Then you can import the model and animations into 3ds max or Maya's scene by using Import-Export plug-ins. If your model is very specific, you can use the Muscles Setup plug-in to embed LS:HEAD animation controls.

"Are there standard vertex/poly modeling tools within LIFESTUDIO:HEAD Editor (we didn’t see any...)?"
LS:HEAD modeling needs no vertex/poly editing. The head shape is controlled by some fifty or more parameters you can set. That's why you can provide a unique feature: in-game user interface to create heads (avatars) on-the-fly.

“Another question: one of the models that are present in the program has also
the torso. How that is achieved with the program? Is the torso imported
externally?”

You can use a standard coat component shipped with LS:HEAD as a torso of your model. Also the Import-Export plug-in helps to attach LS:HEAD models to bodies in Maya or 3ds max and to combine head and skeleton animations. So you can create your specific torso in 3ds max or Maya's environment.

“Sometimes it is necessary to have the model with an expression applied to, like a smile, so you can adjust the shape of the lips, etc. How can we do that with LIFESTUDIO, since it seems that when you switch to the modeling view, the model can't have an expression...?”
Sorry, currently LIFESTUDIO:HEAD does not support modeling with applied expressions. At present you have to switch from modeling to animation mode to apply an expression and see the result. Sorry for this inconvenience.

“How can I make the distance between eyes smaller?  Could not find I slider to do that...”
LIFESTUDIO:HEAD offers no slider to change the distance between eyes. Instead you can widen your model so this distance seems to be smaller. Also you can use the Muscles Setup plug-in to edit specific models. Again, sorry for such inconvenience.

Texturing

“Can't find the texture for make the inside mouth cavity darker…”
Please try changing the pixels between lips.

 “I need to adapt a realistic face texture that was created in another program to the unwrap map. Usually other programs allow us to change the UV point to match the texture. Any idea of a program that can allow us to move the texture to the desired UV map point?”
We offer unwrap maps for different levels of detail (see   \Data\Textures\Head subfolder of your installation). Currently you have to match your textures to these maps by using 2D-editors like Photoshop.

"How do I get the model with textures?"
You should save the textures in separate image files. When you select Flattened Textures as Separate Files, you get textures that you can polish with some graphics editor to apply again to the same head model. You can also edit these textures for use in future modeling.

Animation

“We are working on a facial animation project that requires animation from MOCAP data. I was wondering if your product can be animated from MOCAP.”
The current version of LIFESTUDIO:HEAD does not import any motion capture data, though we think of this option in future.
On the other hand, the lack of this option may be excusable as LIFESTUDIO:HEAD technology is initially designed for parameterized modeling and animation in real time. So you can animate LS:HEAD models in your application by issuing commands like  {"Say(HelloWorld.wav)" plus "Smile(74%)"}, or {"Say(oops.wav)" plus "ShakeHead(1.3 sec)" plus "Blow(25%)"}, and so on. Note you do not stream 3D data to control models in this case.

“How do I add morph targets?”
Morph targets are unnecessary here! LIFESTUDIO:HEAD comes with animation libraries that allow you to complete all basic artwork in hours instead of months. You just drag and drop ready-to-use facial expressions from a library onto tracks along the timeline, and expressions will be smoothly mixed - your model can speak while smiling and blinking and shaking head, etc. Note, any LS:HEAD animation applies to any LS:HEAD model.
On the contrary, you can use LIFESTUDIO:HEAD to produce morph targets: you can export facial expressions from Editor as OBJ files, and you can use Import-Export plug-ins to control LS:HEAD models  in 3ds max and Maya.

Lip-Sync

“I have a doubt: when should I use Generate Mouth form and when use Generate Phonemes options to Lip-Sync?”
LIFESTUDIO:HEAD offers two methods for lip-sync:

  • One-step method, using elementary articulations (the Generate Mouth Form command )
  • Two-step method, using phonemes and visemes (the Generate Phonemes and Generate Visemes commands)

We believe the One-step method is language independent (to a certain extent). So, please try Generate Mouth Form first.
The Two-step method needs a language specific set of visemes, and a good phoneme file (we suppose it is best to generate phonemes from the text origin, not from the speech sound).
Currently LIFESTUDIO:HEAD provides only the English set of visemes.

“I can’t get the Lip-Sync to identify the "bla" sound  that exists in Brazilian Portuguese and create a phoneme, kind of " blah" sound... It uses the tongue up in the mouth, but I can’t get it to work.”
Please try the language independent Generate Mouth Form method first - then you don't need to identify the "bla" sound. We hope you may get acceptable lip-sync.
The two-step method (using phonemes and visemes) needs language specific settings: a specific phoneme analyzer and a specific set of visemes. Currently LIFESTUDIO:HEAD provides only the English settings, no Brazilian settings, that’s why the "bla" cannot be identified.

“When lipsync is there a general way of adjusting the amount of mouth opened, so my character does not open too much its mouth when speaking?”
Choose one of the following ways:

  • Lipsync adds some MouthForm tracks to your animation. Then you can manually edit these tracks to "adjust the amount of mouth opened". Here you can select and deselect multiple points to change the shape of animation splines by dragging the selected control points.
  • Instead of applying changes to one animation you may want to feature articulation of your character. You can edit the MouthForm macro muscles, so to tune an individual animation library

You can use both of above techniques.

Miscellaneous

“Will the files that I have been using in 2.6 be compatible with 2.7?”
Yes, you can use your LS:HEAD 2.6 projects in version 2.7.  If you change to use a 2.7 prototype, your model may differ slightly from the one created with 2.6. Also, you may want to update lip-sync tracks created in 2.6 to get better animation.

“What equipment configuration do you use for LIFESTUDIO:HEAD?

  •  Microsoft Windows 98/2000/XP (Windows 95 and Windows-NT4 are not supported)
  •  Pentium (or compatible) 600MHz CPU  (1000 MHz or higher recommended)
  •  128 Mbytes RAM
  • 250 Mbytes free hard disk space
  •  Hardware accelerated OpenGL graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce2 or higher recommended).

 


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