Animate realistic facial expressions

Tom Baker shows you how to save time on convincing character acting by focusing on facial animation.

It's a simple fact that it takes less time to draw mouths and eyes than it does to draw bodies and limbs. So, by creating a set of happy and sad mouths for lip-synching, it's possible to cut down on the need for time-consuming whole-body animation, while still maintaining convincing character acting. In short: the head does all the work so the body shouldn't need to.

This project gives you an overview of the process I use for this, from creating original pencil sketches through to a finished animation. To accomplish this, it will help if you already have a good understanding of both Flash and Illustrator.

I've included all my original files for you to work through the steps with - although you may choose to follow the process using your own characters if you wish. As there are some fairly big jumps between certain steps, I have also included various work-in-progress files (WIP) for your reference. And it'll be worth looking at the final file before you begin, to get an idea of the end results.

Click here to download the support files (24MB)

Click here to download the tutorial for free