What are the best mouth shapes to use when do­ing lip-sync?

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&A - Kerry Ea­son, US

An­swer Dy­lan replies

You may not be aware of this, but when we speak we don’t form all the in­di­vid­ual shapes in a word with our mouth. It’s far too much ef­fort! In­stead, our mouths take the short­est route pos­si­ble. The main mouth shapes are: a closed mouth M (which is also used for P and B); a wide mouth show­ing teeth for S (also used for C, D and T); an open O mouth; a wide and open A; and an E mouth, which is like A but wider still.

From there you have less-com­mon se­condary shapes: F, which has the lower lip tucked be­hind the up­per teeth; and L is a wide mouth show­ing the tongue com­ing up be­hind the up­per teeth. You’ll also need an ex­treme ver­sion of O and A for when these are said more strongly, and fi­nally a TH shape show­ing the tongue be­tween the teeth.

To an­i­mate these words, it’s best to find the main beats, adding in the most prom­i­nent key sounds and then play­ing the an­i­ma­tion back to see how it flows and where to re­fine it with se­condary shapes.

This set of 10 mouth shapes gives a solid ba­sis for lip sync. Com­bine these with body move­ments and fa­cial ex­pres­sions to cre­ate some jaw-drop­ping an­i­ma­tion!

Lip sync can be a great op­por­tu­nity for hu­mour. Meet Maths Mutt, who has a pretty ex­treme con­trast in his var­i­ous mouth shapes, bring­ing this dog’s ab­surd na­ture front and cen­tre in his char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion.

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