Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On The Mouth

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


dmac said...

Wow. Sweet post. You should do more technical posts like this, if it's not too boring for you. This is the type of thing I love to read about. Or you could just tell me about how you animate when I GET BACK TO AMERICA IN JUST OVER 3 WEEKS! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

dmac said...

PS- They spell it "dialog" in the textbook over here too and it pisses me the hell off.

andrewkudlick said...

you guys like the "ue" because you are elitist snobs. The "ue" stands for uber elitist!

Ben said...

First of all- 3 WEEKS THAT'S CRAZY!

Secondly, yeah you know I like doing the technical posts in case someone wanted to know how to do what I do, but I was worried they would bore everyone else- like you know you and the three other people who read this. But if you think they're interesting, I'll definitely do more- with more details.

Thirdly, the ue stands for unionize everybody. Around the turn of the century, with labor unions popping up in defense of child labor laws and 8 hour days, newspapers would often publish articles with extra "ue's", standing for unionize everybody, to show their support for the worker's struggle.

disa said...