78. lip syncing is about shifting mouth positions

I’m lip syncing a large amount of dialogue for the Joe Pera sleep animation. In my last post on how to lip syncing I wrote that it’s about rhythm - that means you want to hit the timing of when the mouth is open or closed.

In this post I want to add to that idea. The most realistic mouth movement animation actually captures that motion and intention of the speaker - when we pop a “P” sound, there is a build up of momentum as the mouth prepares to POP! Same with the tongue moving through the mouth in an “L” sound, the sound rolls out.

It’s not easy animating a mouth. it takes forever and is one of the least noticeable animations. I see why some people just have the mouth hidden or open and close like a beak. Or use AI, or video syncing, or using a library of mouth positions. Drawing the mouth each time is not very time effective. The other downside to doing it manually is the inconsistencies in mouth shape and position that draw attention to the mouth.

I’m looking forward to seeing this project done, it’s been a ton of hours of detailed work. I was wondering how many hours I’ve animated in my life, have I hit 10,000? I think it’s possible, I’ve definitely spent 100 hours on certain animations. Yet, the actual time I’ve spent animating are not as high. Sure, the design process and keyframing and drawing are a huge part of the pipeline but I kind of want to just animate. that means truly changing shapes and exploring perspective. I’m so inspired by projects like Scavenger’s Reign and King of the Hill which show such subtlety and care. I’m not sure if there is work but there certainly is a lot to do.

© Jeremy Nir
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