Make Movies Blog - v2.0

The World of Animation News, Trends, Problems, Work, Education,
and anything that moves frame-by-frame.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Lip Sync

About thirty years ago when I was involved with computer animation at the Imperial College, one of the projects we looked at was creating automated lipsync.
In principle it was fairly easy; a set of lip shapes were matched to a set of phonemes in a look-up table, and you typed in the syllables and gave them a number of frames.

In those days there was no instant playback so if you got the timing wrong it took some time to check. But it wasn't practical for other reasons such as needing different shapes for different faces, also size, gender, age, and accent affect the shape of the lips.

I am not an animator but a scriptwriter, and my interest was the idea that one day I would be able to type in a script and both see and hear it played back. I thought it might always be a pipe dream, but I have recently seen some examples that come close to doing just that. One of the programs is which allows you to record your voice and have it spoken by an animated character.

I recently looked up "lipsync for animation" and got a hit rate of over 300,000, so developments have moved on.
I haven't tested them but here's a couple examples here that you may like to look at to see the current state of the art.

Also some other sites: Lip Sync


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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Usually the first problem I find with teaching children to draw is getting them to hold a pencil correctly.
As a child before the war we had to spend hours doing copper-plate script to write neatly. It was boring, but you could read most children's writing. Not so today with biro's and word processors.

I always say "Hold your pen like a dart", but though that is typical for animation, Fine-artists use different methods. One method I came across is at which is worth looking at.

You don't need to be able to draw to animate though. Take a look at: (just type in 'smooth teddy' to get listings) to see the trend in simple animation. This appears not to be a commercial program yet, but it will be fun for kids when it is.

Another similar 'instant' animation program beingdeveloped is
This could really take off in schools when it's available.

This trend will bring back the Light-pen as an input device. They were common in the 1960s but went out of fashion when the mouse and drawing tablet became available.

Another recent development yet to hit the shops is a screen that is so thin and flexible it can be rolled up. This would be suitable for a cheap light-box/monitor when it's available.

Then there is Googles own drawing program at
It does 3D geometric shapes but easy to use.

It will be interesting to see if a killer-application comes these instant animation programs as there is no doubt that there is a great need for a graphical language that overcomes the barriers of the spoken and written ones.

Look at: Drawing Techniques


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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Draw a Pig

I came across this site while looking for psychological drawing tests.

Teaching children to draw gives a good insight into how they think and see the world. I was surprised to find that children in London still draw houses with smoke coming out of the chimneys even though most have never seen this happen. But then, most houses still have chimney pots even though they are not used. Children draw what they think as against what they see.

Pigs are difficult animals to animate. They don't have hand-like trotters; vary little in features, and typically described as fat-ugly-greedy-dirty. In fact a good cliche for all we dislike, and this may be because in some ways they can appear quite human; more so than a cat or dog.

Thier place in animation is to represent the villian as in 'Animal Farm'. Of course, we all love Miss Piggy in the Muppets, but that because she associates with other loveable characters.
Foxes and Wolves are also villians while dogs are heroes. Cats seem to take on any role, as do monkeys, while horses are always good.
The psychological links between people and animals has always been exploited, and never more so than in animation. Drawing animals gives some useful insight into how we see the world.

Some more drawing test sites: Psychological Drawing Tests


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Monday, September 25, 2006

Getting Started in Animation

The purpose of this Blog is to look at some of the many Animation sites around and see what's new; what's interesting, and where they fit into the great scheme of things animation-wise.

My interest is mainly to get animation into schools and the community as I used to run children's workshops, and in particular, classes for Special Needs children, so had to find ways that children with no experience of animation; no particular skills, and not much time to practice, could produce work they found fun and creative.

Many of the children had physical and mental handicaps, so techniques had to be devised suitable to their capabilities. Much of this work can be found on my site so this Blog is an appendage to that.
That site does list links to other animation sites, but this is the place to look at what's going on, and the trends.

For idle moments look at: Animation


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