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All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.
So at this point we have the entire body animated. So we kind of almost have the lip-sync in place. All we need to do is add in the mouths and maybe a few blinks and we'll have this animation done. Let me show where we are at so far. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the show.) So you can see the gestures of the body are in sync with the dialogue. So now all we have to do is fill in the mouths and some blinks and we are done.
So let's go ahead and work with the Mouths. I am going to go ahead and zoom in here so we can see how these are put together. So the mouths are set up as a sub- composition and they are actually set up so that the Time Remap value controls which mouth we have. So if I double-click on that Mouths composition, you can see what it looks like. All it is, is one mouth per frame or one phoneme per frame, for a total of about eight frames.
So all we need to do is in our composition select which one we want. So if we selected 1, it would be the open or the A sound, if we selected 3, it'd be the consonant sound and so on. So by setting it up this way, all we have to do is animate this value and we can animate the mouths. So as we do this, I want to see this value against the waveform. So I am actually going to scroll down here find Welcome.wav, which is towards the bottom. And let's go ahead and drag this up, so it's right above the Mouth layer.
So we can open up the Welcome.wav and we can see the waveform against this Time Remap value. So I am going to go ahead and move this up so we can see the waveform and then the Remap value so we can actually see how we are animating this. So let's go ahead and center her on the screen, so we can see her mouth and let's start animating. So this dialogue starts, you can even see it on the waveform here. It starts right around frame 43. So I am going to hold down the Ctrl key and scrub.
(Female Speaker: Welcome to the show.) So the first one is "welcome." So it's the U sound or W sound and so what we need to do is bring in kind of like the oooo sound which is actually number 7. But just by putting in this keyframe, you are going to see that what happens is, is that it's going to in-between between the original frame 0 and this frame here. Now we can set the key type to like a square wave.
But I find it's just easier to just copy the key beforehand. So now we are going from the M to the oooo. So what I have done is I have copied this first frame to frame 42 and on frame 43, I go to the oooo sound. And then I am just going to copy and paste that to frame 43, so we have two frames of oooo. And then it goes into a bigger sound, so it goes welcome. So when it says Eh, the Eh in welcome, I am going to actually open it up a lot more.
A lot of contrast in the mouth shape here. So I am just going to go ahead and create, "wel," and then the L is this shape here, 4. And again what I am doing here is I am just copying and pasting this keyframe here, so I have it. And then it goes wel-k with the k sound, which is a consonant. And so the consonant is frame 3 of that Time Remap and again I am just copying and pasting that so we will have a double frame here. Wel-come.
So for the "ome," I am going to actually have the O sound which is this one here. Copy and paste that and then we go welcome, and now we have got welcome to. So again I am going to go frame 7 for oooo, welcome to. To the, ah, so that's an ss sound. So I am going to use frame2, welcome to the show.
So that sh actually lasts for a long time. It goes for-- let's scrub that again. Right there is where it stops. So you can even see it on the Timeline. You can see that little clip there. That's where it goes shh-ow. So the sh is actually last for a little bit longer than two frames. It actually last for about three frames. Okay, so shh-ow. I really want this to open up a lot because this is actually the most emphasized word here. So I am actually going to open it up to an A sound first and then go down into the O shape.
And it goes aauu and it goes down to an oooo. So it goes-- (Female Speaker: Welcome to the show.) It kind of trails off and then after that I am just going to go back to a neutral mouth shape, so she has her mouth closed. So now let's take a look at where we at. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the show.) So that looks pretty good. So now all we have to do is add in some blinks and a little bit of head motion and we are done.
Now I am not going to go through the whole process of this, but let me just show you quickly how the blinks work. The blinks works exactly like the mouths. We have a Time Remap value here and all we have to do is just open and close the eyes like this. So value 1 is 1/3 closed, 2 is 2/3 closed, 3 is completely closed. So all I have to do is animate those and you have got a complete blink.
So let me show you the final version of this animation. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the show.) Now all I did on this final version was I just added in some blinks to cover the change in eye direction. Now she is looking at the audience, so she is going to be looking left and right and looking around to address everybody in the audience. So now that we are done, you can see the general process of animating characters in After Effects.
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