I’ve had a couple of people write me about pre-built mouth shapes for use with SmartMouth. SmartMouth is built with the principle of flexibility in mind, so it relies on the content created by the animator. Since receiving inquiries about pre-built mouth shapes, I’ve given more thought to the wide range of people using SmartMouth, from professional animators in studios, to less-experienced users seeking an easy way to add character animation to their projects.
I had assumed there must be tons free character and mouth packs on the net, but alas I could only find 2. The first pack is totally free, and was used by Michael James Williams in his review of SmartMouth. The second pack is free when you sign up for a newsletter from Cartoon Solutions (who also offer several commercial character packs).
Given this total lack of free pre-built mouth shapes, I put together a simple Flash file that you can download for free, which contains the basic phonemes (mouth shapes). The file is compatible back to Flash Pro CS3.
Custom Mouth Shapes
It’s not as difficult as you might think to create the mouth shapes required make a character speak. Once you have the mouth shapes, you can leverage the power of the Graphic symbol. There are several great video tutorials online for building characters that talk, like this one from Chris Georgenes. Chris and I also covered this topic in depth in Animation with Scripting (available from: Peachpit | Amazon | Adobe Press).
If mouth shapes and character packs are something you’d like to see more of on our site or within our products, please let us know in the comments.
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