Thursday, July 17, 2008

Layout breakdowns - Dialogue mouths

these 2 frames will barely register; they are just there to connect George's pose from the last scene into his main pose in the new scene. It's a hook up that by today's regulations doesn't hook up. But in motion and cuts it works.

Here's the key pose that's based on the storyboard pose. Below are some breakdowns of main mouth positions created in layout. They all work within the emotion of the key pose but accent and color the dialogue.

In most cartoons the same few mouth shapes are used over and over again. This looks robotic to me-even in fully animated features there is an obvious formula for lip synch.

I like to design every dialogue scene based on who the character is, and how he feels at that moment. I listen to the track, close my eyes and imagine the character. Then I draw the appropriate mouths. It's a lot of fun to custom design mouths.

What I do before I design mouth shapes is write out the dialogue and figure out where the accents are. The accents are usually vowels and that is where the biggest open mouths will be.

Since this is limited animation, I plan to reuse certain mouth shapes in different orders for different words. That's why I write out the dialogue. Above the dialogue I assign which mouth shape I'm gonna use. Each mouth shape has a letter or 2 that phonetically describes the sound.This is not your normal "O" mouth, obviously. I just thought I would do something related to the key mouth shape.
"OO" mouths work best when preceded by an "O" mouth. The O provides a quick accent that helps you notice the "OO".

"I" mouths are long and tall, just like the letter itself.

"T" 's can be used for "N", "G" and some other letters.

"M" can also be used for "B" and "P", although you can make a separate mouth for each that build in intensity.



Ryan G. said...

The first time I did a 2d lip sync I drew each tooth seperate. When it was animated it looked like the guy was chewing marbles. It helped to solidify the teeth into one form. Do you switch back from solid teeth forms for quick mouth shapes and individual teeth (like you have on George)for longer held poses?

Sven Hoek said...

Love it!! LOVE IT!!!!

trevor said...

You know, it took me ten years before I realized that Ren and Stimpy was limited animation. That's a testament to your artistry, John.

And thanks for explaining this so clearly. You really need to put out a book.

- trevor.

Jim Rockford said...

The incredible array of unique expressions you think up for George amazes me!
Those drawings powerfully convey the intensity of George Liqours emotions.
I love how your characters actually have personalitys and ACT!

I cant wait to see this show.

Caleb said...

Modern cartoons are so boring when the characters talk, like a puppeteer with a broken hand. Thanks a lot for all of the great info on this site, John. I remember how bland 80's cartoons were before new adventures of mighty mouse and then again until Ren & Stimpy and then again with George Liquor on the internet. I'm still laughing at the gag where George unhinges his jaw to cram in a giant ball of bacon, and that was ten years ago. Thanks again.

PCUnfunny said...

The expressions you come up with John just blow my mind. In general, the acting your cartoons has re-inforced the idea that characters can be entertaining even when they are just talking. You can't do that with any other flat cartoon today, they too boring to watch.

sunny kharbanda said...

Now THIS is animation!
Thanks for bringing it back, John!

Raff said...

When it comes to things like Mabel Sc5 3 and 4b, you're the only game in town. I don't think anyone else can pull that off, and I wish other people would stop trying to imitate it. It has to come from a personal place.

Mitch K said...

I hate getting hook-up revisions for scenes that already hook up...

Sandy Pants said...

I want to learn to draw like that. I can't for the life of me make faces that expressive! I tried!

Mitch L said...

This is helpful! Great posts!

Ignacio Ochoa said...

Hi John. I am animator from Argentina. I visit you blog every day since 1 year ago, and I can learn a lot. Thanks for sharing you great stuff. If you have a time, you can visit my new blog, there I post three little videos with my works, and some of argentine animation.
Thank you again. ( Sorry about my english)

Gabriele_Gabba said...

Ooo interesting, i never realised until now that i should keep continuety in my shots with lip sync too! Personally i prefer the way you approach lip sync. This formula mouth shape stuff bugs me too, especially when its driven by weak automated flash (program) these days. Can't wait till i get to see this episode of George. Good luck John and thanks for the help!

patrick said...

glad you touched on cutting!