How to make Lip Sync Animation Easy

How to make Lip Sync and Facial Animation Easy

In this weeks video tutorial I explain an amazing method to speed up your lip sync and facial animation.

I show you how I produced the above animation from start to finish in only 36 minutes.

So Lets get started!

First, watch this video as I explain
How to make Lip Sync and Facial Animation Easy:

A lot of planning and preparation went into this, and I genuinely hope you enjoy it! But make sure you watch it all the way to the end. I’d hate for you to miss any secrets.

Now let me step you through this technique.

I have made some example videos using that I animated in with this lip sync animation workflow and noted the time each step took.

  • Foundation: We have already done this by listening to our soundtrack and “getting into character”.
  • Structure: From the video, we learned the basic structure of all lip sync animation is:
    • Open – Closed
    • Wide – Narrow
    • We feel this by placing our chin on our fist and saying the dialogue at full speed.

Lip Sync and Facial Animation Structure
Step 1 – only the open/closed positions.

It took me 2 minutes to produce:

Structure Step 2 – the wide/narrow positions.

It took me 1 minute to produce:

Facial Animation Details
Step 1 – the Details in the Eyes

Now our Structure is done! Not bad for ~5 minutes work. Now its time to put the lip sync details onto our animation structure.

This step took a bit longer (8 mins), and I am starting to add in motion to the eyebrows. Nothing too detailed yet, just some broad strokes of emotion in addition to the lips and mouth.

Details Step 2 – Details in the Face

Now we’re really rolling! I’ve pulled back to add in some details to the entire face. I’ve also animated the mustache and shifted my keyframes to help it match the audio a bit better.

Now our facial animation Details are done! This file took me about 13 minutes to animate, meaning all up we’ve spent 26 minutes to bring our facial animation to this level! Let’s move on to the Polish.

Lip Sync and Facial Animation Polish!

We’ve done all of the building work, now its time to have fun and get really creative!

  • What I’ve done here is animate in some head accents for the dialogue. Then I went in and added in some micro-smirks to make him feel as if he is pleased with whomever he’s talking to! Another 10 minutes, making 36 minutes total to produce this lip sync animation! 
  • At places like Disney and Pixar, the polish stage is where you’d spend most of your time animating (besides maybe planning), however on lower budget productions with tight schedules, polish is the stage that usually gets cut.
  • If you’re preparing a showreel, be sure that you are spending MOST of your time in the polish stage. Many animators out there are competent, meaning they can get an animation this far, but its the top few who can really push it in the polishing stage, especially with lip sync and facial animation.

Well, I hope you found this lip sync and facial animation tutorial informative and inspirational! If you really want to take your animation to the next level, then check out the Guardian Animation Program! Doing so will also help support this animation community.

11 replies
  1. Veerayya HIROLI
    Veerayya HIROLI says:

    I have a confuse to ask u if I want to do a character animation with dialogue, first can start first body or face

    • DJ Nicke
      DJ Nicke says:

      Hi Veerayya, personally I animate the body first. That way I know when the character is facing away from the camera, and I don’t have to animate the face for those frames.

  2. andy karta
    andy karta says:

    The lip syncing stuff was awesome. Great. But I’m making a video set to music so there’s no verbal dialogue. I’m more interested in facial expressions and emotional reactions. Any tips?

    • DJ Nicke
      DJ Nicke says:

      That’s a great question! The best way to get the timing for various facial expressions is to video yourself acting them out and then analyzing that video to see how many frames it takes your face to shift between the various expressions.

      Then you can use those timings to help season the various expressions throughout your animation and time some of the expression-changes to the beat of your music track.

  3. Pawan
    Pawan says:

    Thank you, DJ Nicke for sharing this really simple technique of doing lipsync.I personally got many rejections because my dialogue is off sync.
    Now I am not worried about that.Also, i share this link with my animator friend they are also amazed the technique shown by you.
    In a future looking fwd to see more tutorials like this.Thank you so much.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *