Hello all, 

I'm having trouble figuring out which approach to take to lip sync my clay armature. I'm considering making multiple mouths with hardened clay and swapping them out of my Plasticine clay head (just the jaw and mouth area). Is there an easier way? Should I just sculpt the mouth as I go along? 

Any help is appreciated. 


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Hi Graham,

  It's a good question and I think I can help because I tried a few dead ends before finding a good way for me to work. It depends on what your characters are. Reading your script, it seems like just normal human people.  

  I tried to do hard-sculpted mouth replacements (holy crap, so much wasted work) but in my previews it felt like the character was 'yelling' because with such a small character, the sculpted mouth parts are huge. Subtle mouth sync is hard with that method. Also, this is very risky in a complex scene because you need to forcefully change the mouth shape and that means the character needs to be close nearby, and well-anchored with tie-downs or stands.

  I am doing two methods: paper overlays with phonemes (like robot chicken) , and a wire-jaw setup that uses a 'percentage of open' number. 

  Paper overlays are fast and easy to swap, stuck on with Vaseline. Very little hand-force needed. Your mouth platform needs to be flat and stable, for the mouth shape to be seen well. 

Wire-jaw percentage setup is for the other two characters. They have aluminum wires that holds on the lower mandible part, and the mouth opening is animated by opening the mouth. You mush hide the sides of the mouth, such as I do with a beard.  My second wire-jaw character is a skeleton, so I don't need to hide the borders of the mouth. This will probably not work because of your Plasticine heads, which are too soft to use wire anchored into it.

I use Lip Sync pro software that I use to do the vocal keying, and it works with both paper phonemes and percentage setups. It's an essential tool for me!

For a little context on my 2 mouth setups, here's a trailer for my movie: https://vimeo.com/261249915

My thought is that a soft Plasticine head will continually be deforming, based on temperature, so be prepared to do some constant repair to keep it on-model.

Good Luck,

Geoff

Geoff, that looks fantastic!

Thank you!  I can't wait to be done with it.

David Braga said:

Geoff, that looks fantastic!

Nicely done! Thank you for the advice and example of the different mouth applications. I'm animating a skull and was wondering how it would look without any lips or facial movements but it looked alright in your trailer, which I totally enjoyed. 

Geoff Clark said:

Hi Graham,

  It's a good question and I think I can help because I tried a few dead ends before finding a good way for me to work. It depends on what your characters are. Reading your script, it seems like just normal human people.  

  I tried to do hard-sculpted mouth replacements (holy crap, so much wasted work) but in my previews it felt like the character was 'yelling' because with such a small character, the sculpted mouth parts are huge. Subtle mouth sync is hard with that method. Also, this is very risky in a complex scene because you need to forcefully change the mouth shape and that means the character needs to be close nearby, and well-anchored with tie-downs or stands.

  I am doing two methods: paper overlays with phonemes (like robot chicken) , and a wire-jaw setup that uses a 'percentage of open' number. 

  Paper overlays are fast and easy to swap, stuck on with Vaseline. Very little hand-force needed. Your mouth platform needs to be flat and stable, for the mouth shape to be seen well. 

Wire-jaw percentage setup is for the other two characters. They have aluminum wires that holds on the lower mandible part, and the mouth opening is animated by opening the mouth. You mush hide the sides of the mouth, such as I do with a beard.  My second wire-jaw character is a skeleton, so I don't need to hide the borders of the mouth. This will probably not work because of your Plasticine heads, which are too soft to use wire anchored into it.

I use Lip Sync pro software that I use to do the vocal keying, and it works with both paper phonemes and percentage setups. It's an essential tool for me!

For a little context on my 2 mouth setups, here's a trailer for my movie: https://vimeo.com/261249915

My thought is that a soft Plasticine head will continually be deforming, based on temperature, so be prepared to do some constant repair to keep it on-model.

Good Luck,

Geoff

Thanks, Darius!

    Death's mouth works well, and check out Corpse Bride for examples of many talking skulls. Their jaws often had some left-right angles that mine doesn't. 

    Also: 'Coco' has wonderful skull animation, I wish I had seen it before starting this thing, but oh well.  (I'm dying to spin the skull around after an impact or something.)

  With time, the armature wires that hold the mandible on wears out and breaks, so if you do that be prepared to repair it with a new wire.

    Thanks again!

Geoff



Darius Stuart said:

Nicely done! Thank you for the advice and example of the different mouth applications. I'm animating a skull and was wondering how it would look without any lips or facial movements but it looked alright in your trailer, which I totally enjoyed. 

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