After looking at several examples of lip-sync I decided to put the two methods I liked the most to the test. To do this, I sculpted a couple of rough heads with my character in mind but not adhering to any particular design. This has helped me work out some ideas for my character design however and I look forward to refining them.
A quick disclaimer – as these were just tests, I didn’t set up as efficiently as I normally would so the lighting quality is quite poor. When animating my final piece I will obviously take much more care but I felt this was acceptable for what I wanted to achieve.
For this method I directly manipulated the puppet and overall I feel it was pretty successful. I don’t find the lip-sync as convincing from the side but I believe most of the shots will feature the character either face on or at around a 45 degree angle. As mentioned above, the sculpt was rough so perhaps in developing the design I will have less of an issue with the side-on look but it shouldn’t affect the animation anyway. From this test, I’d like to make the puppet bigger as I believe I will have more control over it that way, the design also needs work, improving the overall shape of the head but specifically improving the nose and eyes. Overall I enjoyed this way of working and it is a strong contender to be my chosen method of lip-sync.
For this method I used replacement mouths of different shapes to convey the dialogue spoken, I feel it was fairly successful but it certainly gives a different aesthetic, one that is a lot more “cartoon-y”. Once again, the lip-sync isn’t as strong from the side but I feel even less so with this technique; without seeing the specific shapes there is no indication of what word is being spoken. I was a little more conscious of the design when sculpting this puppet and whist it still needs refining, there are some features that are starting to emerge that I believe I’ll end up incorporating into my character design.
Overall, I feel more positive about the first test so that is the technique I’ll use. I believe that after I develop the character design and have a finished puppet, it will be even more effective. I’ll can also take what I’ve learned from these tests and design my character around it, hopefully improving the quality of the lip-sync.