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Animating lip sync: The head

From: Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Video: Animating lip sync: The head

So now at this point you should have animated the entire dialog line. So what we're going to do in this lesson is we're going to take the dialog and then we're going to add some acting on top of it. Now I have also animated the last half of this dialog, and let's go ahead and just take a look at what I have done. (Character: I've sworn off pancakes. I'm having French toast instead.) Now this computer doesn't play exactly real-time, so let me scrub through this a frame at a time just so you can kind of see what I've done. (Character: I'm having French toast instead.) Now your animation may be similar, it may be a little bit different, but the most important thing is that it looks good to the eye.

Animating lip sync: The head

So now at this point you should have animated the entire dialog line. So what we're going to do in this lesson is we're going to take the dialog and then we're going to add some acting on top of it. Now I have also animated the last half of this dialog, and let's go ahead and just take a look at what I have done. (Character: I've sworn off pancakes. I'm having French toast instead.) Now this computer doesn't play exactly real-time, so let me scrub through this a frame at a time just so you can kind of see what I've done. (Character: I'm having French toast instead.) Now your animation may be similar, it may be a little bit different, but the most important thing is that it looks good to the eye.

Dialogue animation, there is some science. There is some art to it, so there is room for interpretation, but regardless, the next step for this is to actually bring the character to life. All we've animated is his mouth. We haven't animated the entire character. We need to animate the body, the head, the eyes, and so on. So the first thing I want to do is get an idea as to what I want to do acting-wise for this character. One of the things I like to do is I like to move the character's head to the beat of the dialog. Now I think we can also add a little bit of acting to this to make the whole scene read better.

So let's go ahead and play this, and let's play it with the intention of understanding how the character is going to move. (Character: I've sworn off pancakes. I'm having French toast instead.) One of the big concepts in this is that he's sworn off pancakes. That's a negative connotation. That means he is shaking his head. And actually, I think that would help to sell this little bit of dialog is to have him kind of shake his head no as he says the word 'sworn off'. Let's go ahead and animate his head. So I'm going to select the head control here, and I'm going to set a keyframe.

Now we need to understand where exactly he is going to shake his head. (Character: I've sworn off.) So sworn off, somewhere around 10 to 20 is he is saying-- (Character: sworn off.) Okay, so we want to start him moving somewhere in this range. I'm going to go ahead and keep him centered until about frame 6, and then at frame 10, I'm going to rotate his head over a little bit. And then when you rotate the head, a lot of times it's best, for a more natural pose, just to kind of tilt it a little bit like that.

So that gets his head ready to swing the other direction, which is where he is going to say the word, or he is basically mimicking the word 'no'. (Character: I've sworn off.) So what we have here is a classic head-turn. So in the middle of this, between 10 and 20, what do we do in the middle of a head-turn? We dip the chin.

This will, again, add a little bit more realism. (Character: I've sworn off.) And then we also need to kind of return him to center. So what I'm going to do is go a little few frames out, say around frame 30 or so, and let's go ahead and just center him a little bit. (Character: I've sworn off.) So here at frame 6, I'm actually going to lift his chin just a little bit. (Character: I've sworn off pancakes.) And then somewhere around frame--right towards the end of this, I'm going to just go ahead and move the head just a little bit, just to give him a little bit of life.

Again, this is almost like a blink or something where you just keep--it's almost like a moving hold, actually. (Character: I've sworn off pancakes.) Now one of the things is that as the character turns his head, typically what happens is that the character will blink. So let's go ahead and add in a blink. So this kind of starts somewhere around frame 6. This is where he starts to turn his head into the head-turn. So at this point, I want to make sure that I get an open-eye keyframe.

So I'm going to select the upper and lower lids here and hit S to set a keyframe. I'm also going to go back to frame 1 and set a keyframe for that. As the character moves into this head-shake, he is going to blink. So a blink is about 6 frames. So I'm going to go ahead and go 6 frames in, so frame 6+6 is 12, drop his lids here, bring his lower lids up. (Character: I've sworn off.) Now one of the things is, I would like to actually keep his eyes closed through most of this.

This will actually add a little bit of emphasis. So what I can do is just select again both lids and just hit a keyframe again, so I'm keyframing this at somewhere around 12 and 18. And then again, 6 frames to open, so at frame 24, I want to make sure they're open. Well, I know I already have a keyframe with the eyes open here at frame 6, so I'm just going to copy and paste that. So copy and paste that to frame 24. So now we've got-- (Character: I've sworn off pancakes.) which is really good.

Okay, so this works really well. Then the thing I like to do is once I start with the blink, I like to just kind of toss in a few other blinks just to keep the character alive. Now one of the places I typically like to toss in a blink is where there is a break in dialog. This will keep the character alive. So we have a nice little break here, somewhere around frame 42 to frame 50, so we can put in another blink there. The easiest way to do this is to just start copying keyframes. So I've got a keyframe here at frame 24 with the eyes open, so let's go ahead and paste that.

I've got another one here at frame 12 with the eyes closed, so I can copy that. Let's go to frame 48, paste that. Okay, so six down. And then we can open them up again, so I can copy the one at 42, and let's open them up a little bit more quickly, so I've got at 48. Let's do open in 4 and do that at 52. So now I have a complete blink here, so let's take a look at this. (Character: I've sworn off pancakes. I'm having French toast instead.) Okay, so I want to add one more blink here, and I think the best place to put a blink is right before the word 'instead'. I am having French toast instead.

So that's actually kind of an emphasis, so I think I'm going to need a blink there. So let me go ahead and select all these, copy them, so I'm actually selecting all of the frames for that blink, and then I'm going to copy, go to about frame 80 and paste. Actually I think I want to move those over just a little bit. I want his eyes to close on the word instead.

So let's go ahead right around here. (Character: I'm having French toast instead.) So that works pretty good, but now we still need to finish up the head. We need to animate a little bit more of the head. Now one of things when you animate the head is, a lot of times when the mouth is open, the head will tilt back to open the throat. So one of the things you can do to give a little bit more of a realistic head motion is tilt the head back a little bit as the character opens his mouth, so let's go through and do some of that.

So one of things I do like to do is to make sure that I just kind of work with the head a little bit. And sometimes when I open the mouth, or when I tilt the head back, I want to make sure I tilt it forward beforehand to make sure that we have a little bit more room to tilt it back. So when it goes 'I'm', you want to kind of tilt that head back a little bit so that he has more room. It's almost like he is singing. You can see if I do it really extreme, he has this kind of tilted-back motion here.

But we don't want to tilt back that much, just enough to give a hint that it's doing this. In fact, I can probably move this a little bit more. (Character: I'm having French.) I think we do that for French. Toast is the next one. And so we've got the eyes closed on 'instead', and so I want to make that a little bit more of a broader motion. I'm going to tilt that back a little bit and then just return him to kind of a neutral position by the end of this. So this is just the head.

(Character: I've sworn off pancakes. I'm having French toast instead.) (Character: I've sworn off pancakes. I'm having French toast instead.) Okay, so this is just the head and the eyes. Now we still need to animate the body a little bit, so let's go ahead and do that in the next lesson. So let's go ahead and review what we've done here. We've animated the head to indicate the word 'no', when he says, "sworn off." We've also animated the head to open up the throat a little bit as he says the large vowels.

Now, typically when a character says the large vowels the head will bob up just slightly. Now I'm exaggerating this a little bit, but you can be more subtle if you're doing it for a more realistic character. So keep these little tidbits in mind as you animate your characters.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

65 video lessons · 10015 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 22m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
    3. Character rig overview: Simple character
      6m 19s
    4. Character rig overview: Full character
      7m 30s
    5. Using other rigs
      48s
    6. Using screen drawing tools for Windows
      3m 9s
    7. Using screen drawing tools for the Mac
      2m 14s
  2. 23m 47s
    1. Creating strong poses
      3m 27s
    2. Creating custom MEL scripts to help pose characters
      4m 39s
    3. Using layers to select characters
      1m 10s
    4. Learning the basics of posing characters
      10m 7s
    5. Creating stock poses
      4m 24s
  3. 25m 11s
    1. Understanding forces and character motion
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding drag
      5m 51s
    3. Working with secondary motion
      5m 33s
    4. Bringing the character to life
      4m 21s
    5. Refining the animation
      7m 13s
  4. 39m 30s
    1. Keyframing initial poses
      4m 21s
    2. Creating the blocking pass
      7m 42s
    3. Moving holds
      5m 27s
    4. Animating weight shift
      4m 21s
    5. Animating pose to pose transitions
      7m 46s
    6. Animating a wave
      9m 53s
  5. 42m 15s
    1. Analyzing a walk
      5m 43s
    2. Setting up a character for a basic walk
      1m 22s
    3. Animating a walk: The feet
      5m 55s
    4. Animating a walk: The lower body
      8m 23s
    5. Animating a walk: Making the cycle symmetrical
      3m 10s
    6. Animating a walk: Working with the spine
      5m 59s
    7. Animating a walk: Arm motion
      7m 28s
    8. Animating a walk: The head
      4m 15s
  6. 24m 15s
    1. The importance of the passing position
      4m 52s
    2. Working with foot placement
      3m 50s
    3. Adding character to a walk: Contact position
      5m 10s
    4. Adding character to a walk: Passing position
      3m 20s
    5. Adding character to a walk: Finalizing
      7m 3s
  7. 52m 27s
    1. A run in four poses
      2m 39s
    2. Animating a run: The first pose
      4m 31s
    3. Animating a run: The second pose
      7m 17s
    4. Animating a run: Mirroring the basic poses
      10m 59s
    5. Animating a run: Hip and foot motion
      5m 12s
    6. Animating a run: The upper body
      5m 2s
    7. Animating a run: Left arm motion
      5m 31s
    8. Animating a run: Right arm motion
      4m 39s
    9. Animating a run: Cycling the animation
      6m 37s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Animating blinks
      7m 56s
    2. Animating changes in eye direction
      5m 6s
    3. Animating a head turn
      4m 35s
    4. Working with audio
      3m 38s
    5. Overview of mouth controls
      2m 44s
    6. Animating vowels
      15m 14s
    7. Animating consonants: B, D, and G
      7m 2s
    8. Animating consonants: F, M, and S
      8m 22s
    9. Animating lip sync: Assigning phonemes
      10m 43s
    10. Animating lip sync: The head
      9m 44s
    11. Animating lip sync: The body
      5m 10s
  9. 55m 55s
    1. Creating the main poses
      4m 18s
    2. Blocking poses to dialogue
      7m 1s
    3. In-between blocking pass
      3m 27s
    4. Animating moving holds
      5m 19s
    5. Creating weight
      6m 19s
    6. Adding secondary motion
      10m 0s
    7. Animating dialogue
      8m 12s
    8. Finalizing the animation
      11m 19s
  10. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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