Lip Sync and Facial Animation

I downloaded the Meryl rig and choose to replicate the scene in Stranger Things where Joyce finds out she was right all along :O

(From 0:43 to 1:00)

I broke the video down into 3 parts and then scrubbed through the frames 20 at a time to block in the key poses. The gaps inbetween the animation are Hopper’s scenes and after I finish the lip-sync, I’ll either improvise Joyce’s acting or bring in another rig and lip-sync to his dialogue.

Acting (I need to speed up the files):


This is the dialogue:

“You gotta explain this to me ’cause I am not…”

“hmm… what?”


I broke this down into the basic sounds, factoring in the colloquialisms, then planned out the key poses of the mouth shape for each sound:

What I learnt from that is to form the mouth shapes a few frames before you hear the sound as you would see it before you hear it. The emphasis of the jaw moving up and down is best found out by placing your hand under your chin and saying the dialogue to find out when the jaw drops. Define the shape of the vowel first and then settle into it. The upper teeth don’t move!

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 19.09.46.png

Don’t try and match sounds to individual letters, rather to syllables. However these syllable’s mouth shapes will change depending on the syllable before it! Start with the open and close shapes and if you are animating a tongue then keep it’s movements quick.

Basic mouth shapes:

So I finished Mery’s scenes and Alec suggested getting another rig and doing Hopper’s scenes instead of just focusing on Mery and improvising her acting. Here’s Mery’s scenes (I still need to adjust the focal point of the eyes, once “Hopper” is in the scene!):

I downloaded the Malcolm rig for the Hopper scenes. I brought in the audio file so I could match when his acting would be. Animating a lip sync with the Malcolm rig was definitely a lot harder as the controls were on the mesh rather than being conveniently placed at the side like Mery’s.

Here’s a first look at them together. I’m going to bring them both into a single scene so I can have the secondary rig in shot (out of focus) with the primary rig to tie the scenes together.

Having the two rigs in the one scene will help me out with the line of sight of both character rigs and I also need to go back and polish up Malcolm.

Here is my final version! the camera still needs a little work and I could make the acting a little more dynamic:


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