All of the dialogue has been recorded and edited for the new Ronin Dojo Community College four part mini saga. So, it is with a shitty animatic under our belts, that we charge forth into animation. Which for me means making some heads. Since the shorts Matt and I make are so dialogue intensive, and we are too lazy to deal with exposure sheets, we make heads for main characters, that can be re-used for any shots with basic angles.
A head set for a character usually contains a front, 3/4 and maybe profile head drawing, and some inbetween heads to smooth out the turns between each angle. For each of the main heads we do a set of eyebrows, eyes and mouths. When we put the whole thing into After Effects, each eyebrow, eye and mouth can be turned off an on or moved around in sync with the dialogue.
This is roughly what our mouth sets are going to be I think. 10 main upturned mouths, 3 quiet mouths and 8 down-turned mouths. For those not versed in animation, you don't make mouths for each letter but for sounds really. So number 1 on my chart is an M,P,B mouth, number 2 is works for T,D,N and a range of consonants. 3 is AH, 4 is EE, 5 is OOH etc.
Mouths 9 and 10 are redundant, they're just louder versions of mouths 5 and 3. We've found that when you're lip syncing lots of quick talking that has a lot of "AHs" going on, it's good to have a variety to switch it up so your character doesn't just look like a quacking duck.
After Effects lip syncing is something you gotta develop a feel for; some tips for any beginners are that sometimes you want to turn on mouths a frame or so before the sound hits, and try not to have a bunch of mouths on for only one frame in a row, it looks way too fast.
When we were doing IM IN UR MANGER KILLING UR SAVIOR we made mouth and expression sets on a shot to shot basis. Afterwards, we realized that most of our angles were just head on or 3/4 and we could have been reusing those mouths and eyes if we were smart. So this is us trying to be smart- supposedly. Though depending on the distance of the camera, we have to add stroke layers to the heads in Photoshop to match the thickness of the pencil lines for the rest of the shots, but that's another story I guess. Man I hate how blogger thinks dialogue should be spelled dialog. I like the ue damn it.
Kissing Pipes & Robot Rights