Tronald Meets Putin

Putin finally gets to enjoy his puppet show from the wings. I blasted out the second character today after getting in the practice with Tronald over the last week. I’m pretty happy with how he looks and performs as a secondary character. I had an absolute nightmare rigging him with DUIK, so much so I gave up trying so Putin is made with just vanilla AE. I’m looking forward to getting some crit on him tomorrow.

I also knocked up this set. Not sure about the presidential seal, I think Tronald is a bit lost in the detail and blends in a bit too much. But I do like the way Putin is hidden in the shadows.


Tronald Comes To Life

Here’s Tronald waving his arms about and pointing his finger. I’m fairly pleased with how the lip sync works but I can’t help but wish it looked a bit more fluid. I’m considering animating a little mouth in TVPaint afterwards instead.

As for the whole body’s performance I can’t see anything that can’t be fixed in the graph editor. I’d like to add in a little puppet intro to the sequence and I’m still considering doing a little swig of water based on the legendary clip.

Jon’s advice to me is to make more use of the puppet gag and maybe change the fingers to little missile shapes, in which case I’m definitely going to fire one off his hand. He also said that perhaps he’s a little too handsome, which is definitely something I’m going to address.

Modern Cartoon Lip Sync

Looking further afield at lip sync in current animation, I’m really surprised how few mouth shapes appear to be used. One thing I picked up on in Gumball is that the mouth shapes aren’t entirely solid. Sometimes, they’ll be inbetweened or have their shape paths animated (if they make the mouths in after effects. This is something I would be able to achieve when I come to animating my mouth shapes in after effects.

Dump Facts

Since I’ve decided to go down the motion graphics route, these clips have informed me of one way of going about animating Tronald.

I like how subtle and nuanced the animation is. It’s all very simply constructed but very well executed. One thing I like is how they create a 3D effect with the head and hair by displacing the layers of assets. This is something I’d like to try out in my animation.

The lip sync in this is probably the simplest part of this animation, using only a small pool of different shapes to create what is a pretty simple but convincing performance.

Humble Tronald: First Pass

I whipped up this very rough facial animation to start looking at Tronald’s mouth shapes.

On reflection, I should probably have done his whole head but I was only really interested in his face. To make this, I drew 5 key frames that captured his head movement and key phonemes then inbetweened the rest. I think I’ve captured a rough likeness.

Tronald Dump


Decided to do some sketches of Tronald in preparation for my character performance piece. Jon suggested when I told him my idea for this that I created a character based on Dump instead of straight up drawing him. However, I think he’s too good a reference point to waste this opportunity.

I took these sketches from 4 seconds of footage. It’s absolutely insane the amount of expression he gets through in such a short space of time. There’s a lot of elasticity in his face which I think is going to be incredibly fun/difficult to deal with.

Classical Lip Sync & Character Performance

This clip came to mind when thinking about a 2 character performance. I like how the lip sync for these two characters is far more bespoke than just a series of stuck on mouths. I’d like to experiment doing a facial animation with Tronald based on the original clip concentrating on how he forms his mouth.

Looking at Richard’s reaction to Milt is helpful here, looking how staggered it is while Milt is saying his lines. He’s slowly broken down as Milt gets more and more angry. There are a few big moves from Richard that you can see in the corner of your eye as Milt’s performance grabs our attention.

It’s a bit more interesting when the mouth shapes are so fluid.