Don’t you find it frustrating every time you join a new project to find out you have only been provided with a pose library or worse, blend shapes that only contain random mouth shapes? Haven’t people ever seen the Preston Blair book?
Let’s make poorly thought out mouth shapes history!
Today I was doing a bit of cartoony animation research and came across that very enjoyable “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2” behind the scene video featuring Chester V.
The camera panned very quickly through Chester V’s mouth shape library but it gave me enough frames to reverse engineer it and make a nice pose library you should share with your modeler and rigger next time you get involved in pre-production. Sorry we couldn’t see the last mouth shapes but you get the idea.
On a side note, ideally those shouldn’t be blend shapes but shapes the mouth rig and controls allow you to create and smoothly transition from and out of to the next shapes. Simple per phonem blend shapes don’t allow for smooth transition and should be reserved for low cost animated tv series.
As you can see, the mouth shapes are divided in 3 emotions or groups: Happy, Neutral and Sad where the corners move vertically in conjunction with the teeth corners and for each emotion the animators are provided with 16 shapes derived from the Preston Blair simplified phonems: M(BP), S(DTNXK), E, I, L, A, O, TH, U(Q), and F(V).
Enjoy and feel free to share and print, the file is huge enough to please everyone! ;-)
So you want to be a rigger huh?