There are 8 and only 8 mouth positions

I’m helping with an animated project. One thing that’s come up a few times when I mention this to people is they’ll mention drawing the 8 mouth positions needed for lip sync.

I’ve been reading John Kricfalusi’s blog and I haven’t seen him directly address the “8 mouth positions” but I’d bet he’s against it. I’ve also been watching FLCL, and I noticed that a not insignificant segment of the lip sync doesn’t bother with a full range of motion; the mouth just open and close. But they vary the facial expressions constantly, or have other things moving in the shot, or have strange poses, so it’s not boring.

So the consequence is that I think a lot of people overemphasize the “8 mouth positions” thing. I might try it, still, but it should not be used exclusively, and I don’t think realistic lip sync should be a very high priority in animation. I will post again about this once this project is done, and I’ve learned from my future mistakes.

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One Response to There are 8 and only 8 mouth positions

  1. Ryan says:

    I tracked down an actual example of these mouth positions, and I found one batch of Disney mouth positions. There are twelve of those. So that right there shows there’s more than one way to approach this.