After Effects Tutorial

Creating a Simple Mouth Rig in After Effects

Shae Thompson
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Written by Shae Thompson

Shea Thompson: This is how I made my mouth rig using shapes in After Effects

Transcript

Hey, so this is going to be super informal, but I'm just going to show you how I made my mouth rig in After Effects. So first we're going to ignore this and then we're going to start with a new composition. I made mine 1920 X 1920 to fit Instagram's square profile ratio. So then how I started is I went into the rectangle tool and I drew a little rectangle. And we're going to actually put a stroke on this, but first we're going to come into Adobe color and we're going to just copy these colors. And then we're going to Ctrl+V.

And I have mine set at a really high number so it can look more like a mouth. So then we're going to come down to this shape layer right here. We're going to rename it as mouth-lips and then we're going to add round corners to it. And then we're going to go into round corners. We're going to bump up the round corners a lot so that it's more mouth-like. So then we're just going to squish this down a little bit.

We're going to get rid of the fill and we're going to deselect and then we're going to draw another square. And we're actually not going to keep the stroke on this. We're going to fill it in with this color right here. So then we go back in, we fill it, close this guy up, put this underneath the mouth shape so we can see where everything is. And we're just going to squish it down so that kind of fits. And then we're going to get rid of the stroke. Then we're also going to add round corners and it should work the same.

And so that is the inside of our mouth. So then we're going to rename it as mouth inside. And so here's the basis of the mouth. So next what we want to do is we want to make the teeth. I'm just going to copy this color right now. We're going to still use the rectangle tool. We're going to fill it this color and then rename it as teeth-top. And then once again we're going to add rounded corners just to smooth it out. That looks good.

We're then going to drag it underneath the lips so you can see it and we're going to do CMD+D. So now we have two of them. And what we'll do is we'll move them down. And now these can be renamed to teeth-bottom. Preferably, I like to keep the bottom on the bottom and the teeth top on the top. And then what we're going to do is we're going to select all of them and we're going to align them so they're all perfectly in the center.

All right and now we can get started on animating. I'm going to bring this down to two minutes because we're not going to do a full six-minute render of a mouth. So we're going to start with the word wheat. And when you start the word wheat, you want to start with a circular mouth and end with a thinner, narrower mouth. So what's easier to do is actually make it so that your rest position of the mouth is the E. So we are going to go in, we're going to close all the contents and we're going to do position and scale.

And this is going to be our E. And this is just like a little marker to know where specific things are. We're going to rename it to be E. I'm going to make a marker right over here for W. We're not going to worry about W right now. However, we're going to work on E. So we're going to close up contents for the teeth top and we're also going to do a position marker. We're going to want it to be just a little bit down, but we're going to want it maybe a little bit more.

Yeah, like that. We're going to want it to be right here in our E position. So we're going to do the same thing to the bottom teeth except this time we don't want the teeth to be showing. So we're going to do a position dot right there and we can do a longer E so we'll add a position dot right there, position dot right there. I should say that these are keyframes, however. I like to call them dots.

And then with the mouth, we are going to close up the contents, transform. Ooh, not rotation, scale. We're going to add keyframes there. We're going to add keyframes right here. And you can't see anything moving because these are the E's. However, the next thing that we're going to do, I'm going to just place another comp marker with an E right there. We're going to do a T. So we'll place comp marker settings T. So if you think about the word how the letter T come out of your mouth, your mouth gets thinner and your bottom and your top teeth meet.

This is why I have the scale on for the mouth. We're going to add two keyframes and we're going to you scrunch it and widen it just a hair. So that when it goes from E to T, it gets thinner and narrower. And then what do we want for our top teeth is we're going to just put a marker right there. And that's all we have to do for that one. For the bottom teeth we're going to put a keyframe right there and we're going to want it to be all the way up until it's like right there-ish.

So can still see the back of the mouth, but it's not touching. Then when we go into the mouth inside, we're going to do position and a scale one. We're going to smoosh it so that it looks like this. So there's no black. And you want to make sure that when your mouth is moving that there's no black being shown, otherwise it ruins the illusion of it being a mouth. So now let's go to W. W is going to be the hardest one to do because we are actually going to need to change the rounded corners of both this one and the lips and the back of the mouth.

So we're going to put keyframe right there and we're going to close. We're not going to close it up right now. We're going to move in, we're going to add keyframes for position and scale. And you don't necessarily have to do position. I had my mouth move a little bit more than I planned on it. And so I just kept on my position. But since this is a fairly stable mouth, you don't need to keep this position on.

So what we're going to do is we're going to scrunch it. However, that kind of looks weird as a mouth. So we are really going to push the radius so that it's essentially a circle. And then we're going to close this up. We're going to close this up. We're going to add a keyframe for the top teeth and we are going to raise it to the point where you cannot see it, whether it hits the lips. So now that's done, we can go in here.

I like to add another keyframe just because I'm like that. And then we're going to do the mouth inside the same way we did the mouth outside. So we're going to do a scale and position keyframe and we're going to do a radius keyframe. We're going to do another radius keyframe and then we're going to just squish it. And it would be fine right here if you really left it, but see how there's like little corners peeking out? We don't want that.

So again, we're going to just make it a tight enough circle. And then again, just like we did with the E to the T, we're just going to slowly. See how that didn't work? We don't want that to happen. We can see that there's no spacing and the teeth comes down to make the E sound and it makes an elongated wheat. So when we play it should go wheat. And if you wanted it to not be as long as an E sound, you could definitely shrink it, but this is just an easier way of seeing how everything works.

So now what we have to do is we have to mask everything. So what I like to do is I like to find the position where I can see everything, which is going to be our T. Okay, so this is how we're going to do the masking. So we're going to take the mouth inside and we're going to duplicate it so that when we alpha mask it, we can't see anything outside of this.

We're going to rename this as mask and we're going to duplicate it. So then we're going to put the mask above these layers so that when we alpha matte the mask, you can't see the bottom of the teeth. Same thing goes for this. And now we have a fully functioning mouth and you can't see where the teeth end and where they start. And that's how you do it. Cool.

Tags

after effects
Character Design
Joysticks N Sliders
Making a mouth move
Mouth Rig
character rigging
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