Monday, 15 July 2019

Dialogue & Lipsync Tutorial

Dialogue by Joris Van Laar
We've uploaded a new tutorial on animating Dialogue & Lipsync to our Vimeo channel.

In this 8-part video, we explain how to approach the challenge of animating dialogue and lipsync, breaking the process down into a simple, dependable workflow.

Dialogue and Lipsync
One of the most common problems encountered by student animators is how to animate dialogue and lipsync.

After all, in animation you get nothing for free. You start off with a digital puppet, usually in a stiff "T-pose", and have to figure out the rest yourself.

There are six short videos to watch:
  1. Setting the Scene - introduction
  2. Study the Clip - think about the dialogue
  3. Blocking the Jaw - animating the "Open and Close"
  4. Blocking the Corners - wide and narrow mouth shapes
  5. Blocking Lips - lip shapes
  6. Moving to Splines - smoothing your curves
  7. Adding Final Touches 
  8. Summing Up - Final Thoughts
As with most of our tutorial videos, these are password-protected and available only to current and past students.

The secret of good lipsync
So what does an animator do to create great lipsync in a hurry? Of course, the secret of good lipsync really lies in great acting. After all, if you get the acting right, the lipsync is really an afterthought.
Once the acting is done, do the lipsync - but don't bogged down in the detail. Follow the basic steps:

Step 1
Open the character's jaw on the vowels, and close on the consonants.

But make sure you don’t open and close on every single consonant and vowel, especially when doing rapid-fire dialogue, else your lipsync will look "chattery" and over-animated. 

Avoid single frame transitions; ie where the mouth is closed at frame 1, opens at frame 2, and closes at frame 3. This is much too fast; it will read as an error.

Step 2
Find your wide mouth shapes. Especially “ee” shapes. Get a nice contrast between wide mouth shapes and....

Step 3
Find your narrow mouth shapes. Especially “oo” shapes. Get a nice contrast between these and your wide mouth shapes.

Step 4
Make sure all your main consonant shapes are working.
Check all the shapes, make sure they really read well.
Especially watch out for:
1. M’s, B’s, P’s
2. F’s, V’s
3. TH
4. L
Hold your main consonants for at least 2 frames, especially M’s B’s & P’s. One frame isn't enough for these consonants to read clearly.
Joris Van Laar

Step 5

Make sure all your main vowel shapes are working.
Do the A's look like A's? Do the "oo" shapes look like they are making an "oo" sound?

And finally...get yourself a mirror!
Look at the desk of any animator who is animating lipsync and you will find a small make-up mirror. This isn't for lipstick - it's so you can make the mouth shapes yourself, and look in the mirror. Nothing beats acting it out yourself.

To see more resources on animating dialogue and lipsync, see the links below:

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