Richard Williams on Lip Sync




Proper pronunciation is not key to accurate lip sync. It’s all about ‘smudging’ from sound to sound, picking out the obvious bits and missing out the subtle. He calls this phrasing. Like Robin has already taught us, you don’t look to each individual letter, but break it down to the sound, the phoneme.

“The key to lip sync is getting the feeling of the word and not the individual letters.”

He also talks a lot about how performance and attitude make the lip sync a lot more believable. The Milt Kahl secret is ‘PROGRESSING THE ACTION’.




Parcel Pete Dress Rehearsal 1

Today I shot a couple of clips with Pete in his new uniform to see if anything got in the way. The problems that arose were the hat falling off a fair bit, as can be seen in the second clip, and the trousers boiling a bit because they’re so baggy, so bringing on the seams on those is definitely on the cards.

The second clip is based on a sketch by Jacques Tati impersonating a London traffic officer. I think I need the facial expressions to have the right effect.


Skype Call Day


Here are my notes from today’s lecture. The interviews we had today were probably the best of the bunch in my opinion. Maybe it’s the people that don’t have the time to come out that are the most interesting and relevant?

First off, Helen Duckworth gave us an insight into the busy life of an international freelancer. She started off talking about the extent that stop motion films at Aardman rely on CG for extra details. Since they made ‘Pirates!’, they’ve been putting fake thumb prints in the CG characters to ‘retain authenticity’.

Hugo Sands had some stories to tell, having produced a huge range of interesting projects. The best story was about the ‘Compare the Meerkat’ ad campaign, that was apparently a mistake that proved so successful its been airing for nearly 10 years. Another fun fact was about the Gorilaz videos that generate virtually no income and are produced simply to keep the creatives happy.

Mystery Box Holiday Catch-Up

Over the Easter holiday, I managed to get a costume sorted for my puppet. Unfortunately, I managed to forget my puppet in my packing, so I had to make the costume only referring to my scale drawing and an action man of roughly the same size.

I picked up the material for the uniform at Rye market while I was on holiday, as I noticed the stall was selling exactly the right shade of navy blue I was looking for. The guy was nice enough to give me a quarter of a meter of his roll for 50p. I should have at least bought a pound’s worth! I noticed he was also selling the blue upholstery foam we have all used, so the stuff is clearly not hard to come by.


To start the costume, I made some templates with brown paper based on some action man trousers I had to hand and the scale drawing I had.



With the parts cut, I slowly cobbled them together over a couple of days, finishing the sewing on the jacket with a red mandarin collar.  On the first day back, I took what I had of the uniform and added the cuffs and the pockets with Evo-Stick.

Unfortunately the trousers have come up a little big on him so I’ll have to fold over the seams to make them a tad skinnier. This means I’ll wait to put on the red stripes on his trousers.

Today I managed to make his hat with some cardboard and left over material from the uniform. I curled a piece of cardboard around his head, secured it with masking tape and cut it to shape, before slathering it with Evo-Stick and laying on the blue material. I then traces the width of the inside of the top of the hat and made a top to wedge into it. Then I made the peak with another cut of cardboard, cut to shape.

In some of the early drawings, I had him carrying a satchel, so I cobbled one together to see how it looked.


The strap is a little on the short side, however it’s made of masking tape and I’ve coloured it in with brown felt tip which has given it a leathery effect which is quite satisfying. I may re do it a bit longer, but for now, it’s a fine prop.



After FX vs NUKE

Looking around on the internet, you find it gets quite heated on this subject, but what do the two programs mean for 2D animation?

From what I can tell, After Effects is the standard software for animation. This is probably because an awful lot of people use this one piece of software to pay the bills as most commercial work, as I’ve heard from a lot of our guest speakers, is completed inside the software as you can have the whole pipeline inside the one program if you want.

Adobe products are also universal. That’s why we’re taught them in secondary, sixth form and Uni. Any art and design company, let alone animation company, is going to have the products available. What’s great about them is their massive compatibility, the storyboarders can throw together some panels in Photoshop, send them over to be made into animatics in premier. Once that’s been finalised, it gets sent over to animation where it can be dropped straight into Flash as a guide. Once the animation is done, the Flash projects and background PSDs can be opened up in After FX and composited into the final shots without once leaving the creative cloud.

It makes a great case for After FX as a tool.

So why would anyone use NUKE? The nature of its UI, being a node based compositor, makes things a lot easier to understand when you have a big, complex project. This makes sense to use for compositing realistic, multi-layered CG or special effects work.

The other thing NUKE has going for it is the fact it has a genuine 3D workspace unlike After FX which imitates one. That’s great, but why would that be of any use to 2D animators? Most of the perks that come from working with NUKE are to do with 3D file compatibility which isn’t much use to 2D animators, unless they’re working with mixed media.

Animade.TV Email

Today I sent out an email to the studio we’ve been looking at in London. Here’s what I sent:

Hello Animade,

I’m Finley, an animation student at Norwich University of the Arts. I’m getting in touch regarding a group project on industry roles and practices. A couple of us here follow your studio Instagram and really love your house style, so we were hoping you could tell us a little bit about the company?

How long has the studio been on the scene? Does the collaboration between confounders predate the company?

How soon did the studio attract upmarket clients like Facebook and IBM?

Was there a steady growth of employees or was there a sudden turning point?

What are the standard studio animation processes? Are you an entirely digital studio and if so, is After Effects your only animating software?

There are a few other questions we would like to ask that are more role specific, is there a chance you could recommend some employees to talk to?  The roles we are interested in are:


Character Animator

Character Design


I understand youre quite a streamlined studio so I’ll be interested to hear weather those roles are a bit blurred or even relevant to your pipeline.

Thank you very much for your time, I hope we’re not asking too much. We look forward to hearing back from you!

Best regards,


2D – 3D Integration

More and more recently, we have begun to see 2D animations integrated into 3D backgrounds, for example, the new Spirit House music video. I think it’s a very lovely aesthetic choice, but I’ve found that its not just a benign decision to make.

Studios may choose to do this because it makes things cheaper. 2D animation for simple characters is easier and cheaper in most cases. However, if you want to have some fun camera moves, it makes sense to have a 3D background made so you can have any angle you like without having to redraw it all.

The more complex characters in this are CG because they’d be a pain to draw. It’s a good mix.


Compositors in Credits

Just as a matter of interest, I thought I’d go and count how many compositors are needed on a few few films.

First I started with a couple of Blockbusters because pretty well every big budget film needs its compositors considering how vital green screen is these days.

Rogue One: 183

Beauty & the Beast: 107

That’s a hell of a lot. Next, to keep my relevance, I thought I’d check how many there were on some big 2D animation productions. There weren’t an awful lot, but nearly every one I looked at had one.

The Illusionist: 12

Ethel & Ernest: 7

Long Way North: 2

April and the Extraordinary World: 1

The Red Turtle: 0