14 Steps To Successful Lip Sync Breakdown
9) Continue through the track for all the sounds for each word.
Listen for blended words that slur together.
10) Double check all numbering and soundtrack breakdowns!!! You need to be really accurate with this.
The following is the process you would use if you are doing "limited animation" where the character's mouth is on a separate animation level. This is typical if you're animating in Flash.
11) Take the X-sheet and begin with the 1st word.
Assign the mouth position a number (for "absolutely incredible" the first sound is "ah" with the mouth wide open, so it would be "mouth position 1". The next sound is "buh" with the mouth fully closed, so it would be "mouth position 2".
If you are doing more traditional "full animation" where you're drawing the character all on one level, you should use the following process:
11a)Take the X-sheet and begin with the 1st word.
12a) Begin your rough animation for the entire scene even if there is no dialogue at the very beginning. Key out all the extreme positions of the character through the scene. Look for accent points within the dialogue. Perhaps the character might have their head come down sharply on a specific part of the word. Draw this as a key pose. For some dialogue, you might have quite a few accents that might come very close together and you'll feel as though you are doing practically every drawing in the scene. Don't worry about that.
13a) After you have all the drawings done, go back and assign a letter to each one, starting with "A", then "B",then "C", etc. Don't use numbers as you're going to have to add in inbetweens later anyway, so the letters make it a bit less confusing. Put the letters anywhere on the page except the lower right hand corner. Later, when you decide on the final timing, you'll want to write the numbers in this space, so keep it clear for now.
14a) Go back through the scene and flip the drawings to see if you're happy with the action first. If anything is missing, add a drawing in to make the action clearer. If you need to add in a drawing between "G" and "H", then call it "G1". If there are two to be added in, call them "G1" and "G2", etc.
When you're satisfied with the rough action, pull out the exposure sheet and in the 2nd level column, write in the "A, B, C" drawings as they correspond to the dialogue. (Something else you can do if you want to, is write the word that the character is saying on each drawing and underline the specific sound that this drawing corresponds to. It kinda makes things clearer for you when you're looking at them individually.)
Once your exposure sheet is filled in with the letters for the drawings, you now have your rough timing set up. Do a pencil test and match it up with the sound track to see if it works properly.
If you're using Premier, you can go in and shift the drawings around a bit so that they hit a bit earlier or perhaps later. Play around with it until you're happy with the way it syncs up.
Now, you can go back into your exposure sheet and fill in the numbers of the drawings starting with 1. Every two frames add a number. If the alphabetic drawing falls on a frame before or after the sequencing of your numbers, you might have to add in an extra drawing on "one's" to make it work out properly. Whatever you do, don't leave a gap of two frames between the drawings as that will put it on "three's", which as a general statement is not something you want to do.
Once the numbers are all filled in on the exposure sheet, go back and write the numbers on your drawings. Circle these numbers as they are now your final keys. Also circle these key numbers in your exposure sheets as well.
Now all you need to do is write out the timing charts on each of the key drawings. Look at the exposure sheet to see how many inbetweens there are. If there's just one, make it a half. If there are two or more, you need to decide if you want to slo-in or slo-out or make it a constant rate between the keys. See the section on timing charts if you're not sure how to draw them. Here are the timing charts for this set of keys in the example above:
Using this system, your timing is pretty much dictated to you by the dialogue.
Now when you go to inbetween the keys, be sure to leave the mouth positions off until you have everything else drawn. The reason for this is that the timing for the mouth positions might be different from that of the body gestures. Look at the exposure sheet and be sure the mouth position matches what it shows (it might end up being completely different from what you might have done as a half inbetween position).