E2.4: Lip Sync

‘Lip sync’ – is a technique for synchronising animation with sound where the mouth of a character is shaped to mimic the way a live person would make noises or speak. The rules and conventions governing these mouth shapes were initially drawn or modelled for cel and replacement animation – (see the 2D animation tutorials at the end of this post_.

Vector and 3D software are now able to create mouth shapes automatically. There has also been interest in software that can reconstruct audio and alter it from its original source, such as Adobe Voco, popularly dubbed “the Photoshop of voice”. Here not only is lipsync automatic, but audio recording can be altered to ‘put words into peoples’ mouths and animate people saying completely invented speech . However this software has not so far been approved because of obvious security concerns and the potential for political manipulation.

This project goes back the other way, seeing how lip sync principles can be applied to Stop Motion manipulation of physical materials. I built on the Stop Motion work with Peppers from Project 2.6 In the Kitchen and experimentation with materials from Project 2.1 Material Research.

Choose three different materials that are easily accessible in your kitchen, bathroom or garden to explore the use of lip sync.
Make a series of stop frame ‘screen tests’ for these materials. Push them around, expose them to other materials and matter and do so incrementally to produce at least three looped test animations of approximately 20 seconds in length.
Set-up your camera (if possible, connect your camera to your laptop and make use of one of the stop frame software listed below). Keep in mind the principles of animation that you learned in Part 1 of this unit.
Upload these tests to your learning log and write-up a short description of each, explaining your intention, whether you discovered anything that you had not anticipated and what you would change if you made these experiments again.
Include any future ideas of what each material or technique may be suitable for if you were to build on any of these tests towards a longer animated piece.

1: Peppers

2: Sponge

3: Apple Peel

Using Digital Animation Software