How to Make an Animated Music Video Lip Sync

Written by alvaro roque
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How to Make an Animated Music Video Lip Sync
A music video can be more impressive when a character's lips are in sync with the lyrics. (Cartoon figure image by Ilija Mitrevski from

Synchronising mouth animation with song lyrics can be tedious, but the end product makes the tedium worth it. Celebrities can sing parts of a song, or you can even cast yourself. Lip syncing an animation to the lyrics of a music video can be simple and inexpensive, if you use Photoshop and After Effects software.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Photoshop CS5
  • After Effects CS5
  • .mp3 or .wav file with lyrics
  • Digital picture of someone's face
  • Digital video file of someone dancing

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  1. 1

    Open Photoshop. Go to "File," then "Open." Select the digital picture and click "Open."

  2. 2

    Use the "Lasso Tool" in the "Tools Bar" at the left of the Photoshop workspace. Starting at the chin, left-click and hold to trace around the head of the subject.

  3. 3

    Hold down "Ctrl + X" on Mac or "Alt + X" on a PC to cut out the selection. Press "Ctrl + P" on Mac or "Alt + P" on a PC to paste the selection onto a new layer in the "Layers Panel."

  4. 4

    Select the "Background Layer" and delete it. Double-click on the layer name and type "Head." Select the "Lasso Tool" and trace from the chin around the bottom lip and back where you began. It should look like the mouth of an old ventriloquist's dummy.

  5. 5

    Cut out this selection and paste it onto a new layer (as in step 3). Double-click on this layer name and type "Mouth."

  6. 6

    Go to "File," then "Save," name it "Head" and click "Save."

  1. 1

    Open After Effects. Go to "File >Import > File." Select the "Head.psd," and click "Import." Select "Composition-Cropped Layers" from the "Import as" drop-down menu, and click "OK." Import the music file and the dancing video file in the same way.

  2. 2

    Drag the music file from the "Project Panel" on the upper left into the "Timeline" below. The duration of the composition should now match the duration of the music file. Twirl down the music menu file by clicking the triangle icon next to the music file name. Open the "Waveform" drop-down menu to help with animation.

  3. 3

    Click open the "Head" folder and drag down the "Head" and "Chin" files. Drag "Chin" below "Head" in the "Timeline." Select "Chin" in the "Timeline," and type "P" to reveal its position properties.

  4. 4

    Click the "Stopwatch" icon next to the word "Position." Move the "Time Indicator" to the place in the waveform where the music seems to begin. Hold down the "Ctrl" key on Mac or the "Alt" key on PC to listen to the first few seconds of the music file. Drag the chin away from the mouth when you hear the first sound coming from the singer; move up a little and drag it down when the singer is singing. Continue this for the first 10 seconds, drag the "Time Indicator" to the beginning, and press the space bar to watch your mouth animate. Continue this, remembering not to animate the mouth if the singer is not singing. Go to "Layer > Pre-Compose," name this "Sync Head," and press "OK."

  5. 5

    Drag in the dancing video file, select the "Lip Sync" layer and type "S." Make the head slightly larger than the body in this video. Type "P," click on the "Stopwatch" icon, and, second by second, move the animated head over the head of the dancing individual in the video. Go to "File > Export > QuickTime" and press "OK."

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