When I first started animating, my lip-syncs never turned out how I wanted them to. I used to copy and paste the same mouth sequence repeatedly and then pray to the animation gods that one or two of the scenes would line up. I know how it feels to get discouraged and think that you’ll never be good at something. But just remember lip-syncing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice to get it right, and there is no shame in messing up. In this blog, I will share my knowledge on lip-syncing and some savvy shortcuts to help you improve.
Consider Your Camera Angle
The first step when creating your lip-sync is to consider your camera angle. Is your character facing the camera? is his head sideways? Or is his head at an angle? The answer to these questions will dictate how to draw your character’s mouth shapes.
The front-view is easier to animate. Also, If you are a beginner, I recommend mastering the front view of a character first. The side-view of a character is slightly harder because there is more jaw movement to consider, but not that hard overall. After mastering the front and side angles you can try out more complex angles. Once you’re able to animate a lip-sync while the camera angle moves 360 degrees around your character then you’ve got it.
Use A Lip-Sync Chart
A lip-sync chart is a table that illustrates how to draw your character’s mouth based on what sounds they’re making. You can easily google them online, or simply use the one that I created below.
Listen to your character’s audio file using this chart as a reference to pin-point the correct mouth shape. This process is tedious but worth it. When it’s finally finished, you may even surprise yourself by how good the scene turned out.
If this trick doesn’t work and your lip-sync still looks horrible, fear not! Just draw a giant mustache on your characters and wiggle it every time they speak. Or you can simply draw your characters facing away from the camera when they talk. Sarcasm aside, if you don’t master it right away, don’t worry. Just keep practicing and you’ll get it. In the video below, I work through some examples, and you can draw along!
I hope you found this blog useful. If it helps you avoid even a fraction of the frustrations I had with lip-syncing then I’ve done my job. If you would like more tips on animation, then check out The Animator’s Survival Kit on Amazon. Or check out my last blog where I talked about the top 3 graphics tablets for under 100$.