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Animating Dialogue: Moving the Mouth

John Pomeroy, Animator & Directing Animator

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4 Videos (55m)
    • Introduction

    • Lesson 1

    • Assignment

    • Lesson 2


About This Class

Dialogue is very important to expressing personality and mood in animation. Creating great dialogue right requires that you know the tips and tricks used by the professionals. In this course, John Pomeroy, an animation legend, describes what he has learned over decades of animating at Disney with Don Bluth and others. He also shares what he was taught by some of Disney’s Nine Old Men.

In the second of two courses on animation dialogue, John Pomeroy continues teaching the fine art of animating dialogue. John picks up where he left off in Animating Dialogue, Speaking Through The Body, with a pose test showing body movement and the scene folder. John continues to walk you through the steps you’d go through if you worked in an animation studio.

In Animating Dialogue, Moving the Mouth, John Pomeroy discusses fine tuning and enunciation of dialogue with the mouth. John goes through the process of finishing the animation test started in the previous course by describing the details of approaching mouth movement and completing a dialogue scene.

Lesson Introduction – in the video introduction:

  • John Pomeroy does a quick review of the previous lesson and describes the material to be covered in this online course.

Lesson Part A - in this online lesson:

  • John Pomeroy describes dialogue seasonings and how to use them
  • He then describes the dangers of over-animating
  • John describes what he learned from “Nine Old Men” member, Ollie Johnston, about the fine points of animating the face and mouth
  • He continues talking about mouth expressions used for enunciation of different sounds
  • John discusses using Squash and Stretch in the cheeks for emphasis
  • He also describes how different parts of the face work together to express dialogue
  • He then continues to show different mouth and facial shapes used for animating dialogue


  • John Pomeroy describes the assignment of updating the animation pose test with mouth movements.
  • John walks through fine tuning dialogue using the exposure sheet (x-sheet).

Lesson Part B - in this online lesson:

  • John Pomeroy does the lesson himself describing the process he uses for updating the key frames with mouth movements.
  • During the demonstration, he shows how to use an animator’s mirror to ensure the mouth shapes and facial expressions are accurate.
  • John’s final result is an animation that combines the elements of both courses






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John Pomeroy

Animator & Directing Animator

John Pomeroy, animator and directing animator, started work at The Walt Disney Company in 1973 as a background artist, and became a full animator in 1974 to work on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too. While working at Disney, he met fellow animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, and began working with them on an independent short film project, Banjo the Woodpile Cat.

In 1979 John Pomeroy, Bluth, Goldman and several other Disney animators left the studio to form the independent studio Don Blu...

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