Animating Dialogue: Speaking Through The Body

John Pomeroy, Animator & Directing Animator

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4 Videos (54m)
    • Animating Dialog Introduction

      3:32
    • Lesson 1

      24:47
    • Assignment

      2:03
    • Lesson 2

      23:44

About This Class

Dialogue is very important to expressing personality and mood in animation. Creating great dialogue requires that you know the tips and tricks used by the professionals. In this course and the Animating Dialogue: Moving the Mouth 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 first of two courses on animating dialogue, John Pomeroy teaches the process professional animators go through when animating dialogue. Starting with a character layout, exposure sheet, storyboard and recorded dialogue, John walks you through the steps you’d go through if you worked in an animation studio.

In “Animating Dialogue, Speaking Through The Body”, John Pomeroy discusses how to begin animating dialogue by using the body to express the emotional content of the scene. He demonstrates and discusses the importance of poses to the dialogue before focusing on mouth movement. In this session, John starts with an analysis of the scene and finishes with a pose test using the body to express the dialogue. In the next course, he describes how to add mouth movements and finish the pose test.

Lesson Introduction - In this video introduction:

  • John Pomeroy introduces himself and his work
  • John describes working at Disney with the Nine Old Men of Disney Animation
  • John the introduces the scene folder and contents

Lesson Part A - In this online lesson:

  • John Pomeroy unpacks the scene folder and describes the components (Exposure Sheet, Layout, Animatic or Storyboard, Recording of Dialogue)
  • John describes the exposure sheet (x-sheet) including dialogue notation
  • He begins by analyzing and defining the emotional content of the scene being animated
  • John describes the importance of relating and acting out the dialogue with the body.
  • He discusses a few of the tips and tricks taught to him by one of Disney’s Nine Old Men Frank Thomas
  • John draws the key poses of the sample dialogue while describing the importance of layout, attitude, texture, simplicity


Assignment - In the video explanation for the assignment:

  • John Pomeroy describes the assignment of creating an animation pose test using body only for the recorded dialogue.
  • John walks through the x-sheet describing how to use the sheet to create the key poses.

Lesson Part B - In the second online lesson:

  • John Pomeroy does the lesson himself describing the process he uses for creating the pose test.
    The final result, a pose test using body only is shown.

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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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