Workflow tips

When I animate a scene, I usually start by getting the lip syncing down. I figure it’s easier to do while the character is still and there are no body or camera movements. Once that is done, I usually go to body movements, and then add details, like the eyebrows, blinks, etc.

I was reading some tips and the animators said they left the lip syncing till the end. Another blog said that they did all the poses first, then blocked in the movements next. I realize that some of this is just preference, but I’m open to learning techniques that can enhance my animations.
Since posting this I was reading some animation tips from the newly available e-book at On page 28 it discusses the importance of facial expressions as opposed to body language. It says, “…you can sort of breakdown the performance into four categories of exponentially decreasing importance: the body, then the eyes, then the face, then the lip-sync.” So it places the body language as the first in importance and last of all, the lip-sync.

I am going to have to rethink my animations with this in mind. Especially when doing cutout animation, about all you can do is move the arms and tip and head and torso back and forth, which is pretty limiting. I’ll need to think more in terms of designing and adding extra exposures and parts to have specific key poses that express the characters emotions, rather than just getting the lip sync right and then doing whatever I can to move the character around to make it more alive. I’ve got to get into the performance more.

You are right on track. Replacement is the key to adding personality to cut-outs. (cell swapping). And as to work flow it is always important to remember that you are working in a visual medium and the best test for your work is to view it with the sound off and see what is communicated. The sound even the dialog are enhancements not the primary method of communicating in a cartoon. Having seen examples of your work, I know this will not be a difficult task as you are already doing a good job visually so it will just get better with some additional focus.-JK

Thanks, JK! Comments and compliments are always welcome! :slight_smile: I’ll try the “silent movie” tip. I have also been watching other animated clips without sound and going through frame by frame to study movements, mouth shapes, etc. Just to see how things are put together. I have been watching clips from Atomic Betty and Kid vs Kat using KM Player. With KM you can go through one frame at a time using the shortcut F, and it has been interesting to see how things are done.

Okay, back to the drawing board!