08 March, 2010

21 Principles of Facial Animation ~Shawn Kelly

Brilliant, just brilliant. Great to look over before you work on your next dialogue shot. Thanks a lot Mr. Kelly, really invaluable stuff!
1. Planning comes first, thumbnail.

2. Spell your breakdowns phonetically. Write down the sound that is made, not the letter itself. Its the sound the mouth makes that matter.

3.Find the dominant sounds.

4. Consonants mimic the preceding vowels.
ex. Bite and Boot, the "T" shape is totally different for the 2 words, it follows the preceding vowel. The "T" in BITE is going to look more like an "I" in BITE, and the "T" in BOOT will mimic the OO sound.

5. The Muppet theory.
The jaw opens only on the main syllables. First block out the jaw. Put your hand under your jaw to figure out when the jaw opens and closes.

6. Hold the last shape. Don't go back to a neutral shape right after you finish the line.

7. Keep closed shapes shut, usually for at least 2 frames.
ex. b m p

8. Flow through the holds.

9. Slow in... POP out
slow in... If you are saying "E" for 3 frames start with an "E" shape but don't dial in 100% of E. POP out... The P in POW would slow in but when the P sound is made it pops out quickly.

10. Slip dialogue earlier if needed.

11. Transition at midpoint. When shapes overlap and is more than 50% or 60% then it is a clue that you are trying to do too many shapes.

12. Study mouth in mirror.

13. Don't over annunciate.

14. Most accents fall on vowels (even most body and head accents fall on vowels).

The mouth is not independent of the face. Think of the whole face. Ex. "GET OUT" (often) on "OUT" the brows go up, the eyes get wider, the mouth opens... the whole face!!!

16. Rhythm of the body is more important than technically accurate Lipsnyc. It's like watching a performance rather than a talking head. The audience first looks at the eyes, then the body, then the mouth.

17. Study your dialogue again & again... again... again.... again... again....
Don't listen to your line, study it. Act it out while listening to the line.

18. Chart the voice path.
Where does the voice get louder and softer, higher pitch or lower pitch. The ups and downs, the inflections.

19. Emotions affect shapes.
When someone is crying and talking the mouth shapes are a little different.

20. Facial expressions is the logical center of interest in a scene. The body establishes the idea and the face clarifies it.


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