The LIPSinc family of products is built on the company's proprietary voice-analysis system, voiceDSP, which analyzes speech and automatically outputs a digital character's corresponding mouth-, jaw-, and lip-position data. Using an automated system, animators are spared a great deal of the time-consuming task of manually scrubbing through an audio file to identify words, phrases, pauses, and so forth, then animating the corresponding facial movements.
"When I saw the demos, I was struck by how easy the software was to use-and, it's pretty accurate," says Wanda Meloni, analyst and principal of M2 Research in Oakland, California. Meloni sees particular use for the product in animation previs ualizations, and also anticipates its being employed in virtual greeting cards and other e-mail applications.
The new Mimic product, which has recently been beta tested by members of the Poser community, was scheduled for shipment in March at a price of $195. The price for LIPSinc Now, also scheduled for March availability, is to be announced. Ventriloquist for 3D Studio Max sells for $595. A plug-in version for Alias| Wavefront's Maya, and an SDK, are in the works. Licenses for Echo start at $10,000. (LIPSinc; Cary, NC; 919-468-7005; www.lipsinc.com)