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I think the way to go would be head printed for tracking, a cross each for the eyes and a cross for the mouth....
I've been animating my characters' mouths since 2013. I find that it makes it easier to tell two characters (in the same shot) apart when they're talking. My lip animations aren't stellar at this time, but I hope to improve as I go on.
Glue face is good but I think that I looks less lego-like.
I like GlueFace because the mouths import on a 360° cylinder just like a LEGO minifigure's head. Also, if you don't like the mouths, you can create your own. The reason GlueFace makes things so easier is you don't have to manually place a mouth at each phoneme; this is done automatically. Here's a detailed vid.
Last edited by Brickman (December 22, 2016 (09:09am))
Since my first brickfilm, I have animated the mouths of my minifgures to match with the vocals...it has sort of become a signature feature in my films. But the popularity of my mouth movements are about 50/50. Although many people say it looks great, some, especially in my D&L entry The Transfiguration, have criticized it. In my earlier work, such as The Haunted House Series, I felt quite happy with the results, but as I gradually upped my frame rate, ... the mouth movements started to get a little questionable... What is your opinion? What do you think about my mouth movements? Should I stop, or should I keep working on it?
...I preferred watching 101 because it had mouth movements. That was what drew me towards his videos. Without them he would have 10 or 20% less subscribers than he would today... Looking at your Darkness and Light entry, the lip sync isn't fantastic but it doesn't turn me away from your films either. The choice is up to you. I would like all the films I make to have mouth and eye movements but I, myself am just too lazy for that stuff unless I have stickers for figures.
In my opinion, smooth, expressive animation will always trump mouth animation in terms of expressing what a character is saying, along with giving off a sense of personality.
While I don't inherently have anything against mouth animation - I've seen it done very well in films like Zombie: Genesis - I do think many people use it as an excuse to not animate their characters as much, often having them be in relatively static poses while their mouths run off. This, really, just gets visually boring quite quickly.
While you're at least not falling into the trap that I mentioned above, I do think you need to put more focus on improving your character animation rather than refining your mouth animation. You can find lots of tutorials on this across the internet (both related specifically to LEGO and to general animation), but I think, at the moment, your animation isn't refined enough to significantly gain from mouth animation.
Don't take this as discouragement for doing what you're doing. When animation is good enough, well done mouth animation can add a bit of a professional touch to the work. I just think you need to focus more on the basics of animation before extending your reach too far.
I'm gonna give it to you straight William.
You are focused on what gets views and attention on youtube. You are responding to the stimulus of likes and subscribers to generate positive feelings for yourself (endorphins). Appreciating these positive responses is not a bad thing (it's actually a good thing) but relying on them to tell you what you should do next enslaves yourself to a chemical in your brain. In the way that someone can receive endorphins from eating a chocolate cookie, and then eat the entire container of cookies to reproduce that same feeling, you are addicted to positive responses. How do I know? Because I have the exact same problem. I have a craving for reaction, response, reply, and attention. There's hope though, you CAN improve your animation and get positive responses from your work, and it will be a good thing, but you must learn to focus on what is impeding your work currently and NOT on what popular opinion tells you is bad in your work.
Here is what you need to recognize.
The level of skill AND equipment AND experience AND software that it takes to do mouth movements convincingly, puts that technique at the highest point of animation achievement. (Notice I said animation achievement; there is another criteria here that is unmentioned, and that is storytelling achievement)
What Sonjira mentioned about "smooth, expressive, animation will always trump mouth animation in terms of expressing what a character is saying" is 100% accurate. It's been said that verbal communication only accounts for 7% of what is actually communicated, and the other 93% is non-verbal (55% body language and 38% tone of voice). That means that when you animate mouths you are giving attention to 7% of the communication involved onscreen. If you ignore animating body language you are ignoring a WHOPPING 55% of the communication onscreen. And if you don't work with your script and your voice actors to truly produce a quality recording of the characters and their personification, you're ignoring another 38% of what is communicated onscreen.
So weigh it on the scales... what's more important? Animating mouths OR producing a well written script that is voice acted superbly and animated visually that carries the emotion, story, and fun of the script?
Yes, animated mouths are pretty cool. But they are the sprinkles on the ice-cream. I enjoy watching a film because it's an enjoyable story, not because I get to watch mouths move onscreen.
So you should be asking yourself and people who's opinions you feel will help guide you in the right direction, "What makes my stories enjoyable or unenjoyable?"
So, basically, getting advice from people is bad and anything besides story is sprinkles?
I'm not sure if I agree with your point, Nswihart.
While I agree that animated characters should communicate with movement more than anything, why should William have to choose between animation, story, and mouth movements? Can't it be all three? Must it be a tradeoff? I don't think that you can just say that William is addicted to positive response just because you might be. Sure, most of us probably are, and there's probably some deep place in our brains that just says that we make brickfilms for the pure enjoyment of getting applause. But I wouldn't say that William asking the opinions of others is an addiction to applause. It's kind of like if I asked if someone if I should only use classic smileys in my next film or use modern heads. He respects our opinions and just wanted a consensus on it. Ultimately, the decision is up to him, but he obviously made the post because his mind was conflicting on the topic and he wanted to hear another's perspective.
Now, I'm not intending to be harsh, because a lot of what you say is true. It is harder to animate mouths when you're animating the body a lot. And yes, without a good storyline, no amount of mouth movement will help a film be good. But I think that the question "What makes my stories enjoyable or unenjoyable?" is a completely different subject than one of mouth movements or no.
Wow, I almost forgot that I made this topic, it was so long ago.
Of course I wanted, and still want positive feedback. If I get responses from people telling me that I should improve a certain aspect of my animation, it is something that I want to do something about, that doesn't mean I'm addicted to positive feedback, per se. When I made this topic, back in mid to late 2015, I wasn't very good at animating the mouths and wanted to find a way of improving them. That doesn't mean I wasn't focusing on script writing and on improving my animation in general. I was really just curious to see what people thought on the matter.
Now, I have a particular way of animating my mouths, and I think it looks okay. I do get a lot of comments from people saying they like my mouth movements now, so I think that's fine. Of course, the thing that's changed the most with my films is the animation, which although isn't perfect, has improved a lot since 2015, and that and my script writing will always be the central focus when it come to my films. The mouth movements are a secondary thing, which still needs some attention, if it's going to be done.
For example, the Empire Strikes Back has excellent writing and well developed characters, if they didn't put as much attention to the special effects side of things, it would be a very problematic film. But, because they put enough focus on each aspect, the finished project was great!
I got frustrated with glue face due to the lack of English, it breaking on win 10 and the requirement for a 'dead ahead' angle.
I used head replacement for emotions for 'Mariana' and it provided the best results by far. I'll order the phonetic heads and see how that goes.
hey just wanted to know what free software for lip sync would you recommend for Windows 10?
Like what nswihart was saying, just because the majority of people favour one thing, does not mean that is necessarily right. Humans have made many mistakes before when it comes to choosing the right thing, so do not base your decisions purely on other's criticism (although do not ignore it either). If you do not have the animation book already, I would definitely recommend it when it comes to this sort of thing, as there is a whole section on body movement to express feelings.
Mouth movement is not something which determines whether or not people will like your animations. There are famous lego animators who do mouth movement, and famous lego animators who don't. I find (although this is just my preference) that you can make a character tell just as much through other minifigure heads than spending ages on mouth movement, but the choice is really up to you. If it feels natural to just animate the mouths on your minifigures, then go ahead, it will by no means make your animations worse. But I definitely recommend listening to people like Sonjira about improving on non-verbal communication, as when done well it can really be the difference between a good or bad animation.
I hope this helps
Papagayo is a well-established lip-sync program, and it's free...
Thank you !
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