Cartoon mouth in blender

So I have been asking this question for a while on BA for a while, and I have also watched many tutorials, but I still can’t get an answer. I want to model a mouth that can move around a face and is 3D for depth. It can also be animated for talking or making exaggerated expressions. IS THIS POSSIBLE? Here are some pictures of characters with that style mouth I was talking about.
3d spongeboy

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I really want to know how to achieve this too!! Maybe you could try to find some free 3d models that have the same sort of thing, and study the topology and how it’s done?

Hi, Shape keys is one method you can use to achieve this kind of animations.

shape keys.blend (849.3 KB)

And as for the modelling process look here:

Here’s a trailer from the new diary of a wimpy kid movie that shows the style mouth I am talking about.

I thought of the second video on this page. He shows (with the character Rex) how they pose the mouth to the side and you can see how the mouth is modeled.

This would be a good tutorial for you too.

This is another option:

  • a separated mouth with an inner part parented to an empty
  • a vertex group for the lips far border (see attached picture)
  • a shrinkwrap modifier to stitch this group on the character face
  • a data transfer modifier to copy the normal face polygon normal orientation on the vertex group
  • a parented object to the empty that ll be used to boolean cut the face where the mouth is.

Bool_mouth.blend (796.6 KB) blender v 2.93

You must be in Material preview or rendered to see the corrected normals sticked on the head

I have always thought that a curve would be needed to achieve this stylized 2D but 3D look. Is that possible in anyway? (Side note, I’m not a good scripter so I can’t just make my own tool, and also I don’t have money, so I can’t really buy other addons for this.)

SO I actually managed to make one myself, and it works fairly well. I’m satisfied with it as it fits my character perfect. I just used shapekeys.

The only thing that ISN’T a shape key is the jaw movement/mouth closing. That was done normally.

His face is pretty much completely flat, aside from a very slight prominent top lip. So it’s basically a “2d” sort of mouth.

I could offer a more in depth explanation with pictures but I’m not home at the moment lol.

Anyways, I made a shapekey to make the mouth stretched (calling it mouthwide.l, mouthwide.r)
and then created a new shape from mix with that, positioning the corners up, and then one where theyre down.
and then got each lip part and make a shape key where they are up.
and then selected the whole mouth and positioned it to the left, right, up, and down. and made individual shapekeys for each one. (mouthpositionup,mouthpositiondown,mouthpositionleft,mouthpositionright) You get the idea.
And then as far as the left and right sides, just make a vertex group of the entire left side of the face or head, and the entire right side. And then assign the shape keys to the corresponding sides.

And then once I have them all created, I attach bones and drivers to them.
For example, there’s a bone on the left corner of the mouth, so when I pull on it along the X axis, it activates the “mouthwide.l” shapekey, mimicking how a normal rig with weights and bones would work.
Sorry if that is kind of vague, but I can show image examples if needed.

If you are familiar with the show Veggietales, that could be used for reference on the style mouth I want.

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Oh! Okay. I found this…I haven’t opened it myself- but maybe it could be used as a reference!

it seems to be controlled by shape keys and lattices,

edit mode looks like this:

the mouth is a seperate object it seems like, and it is changed with shape keys.

when i move it out, it disappears. so its almost like some sort of cut out?
and i can move the vertices and shape it too

here it is upclose. it’s not a hole- it’s solid.
but removing the body reveals this

very interesting!

and the inside of the body, is the same black color.

so we have…Lattices…Shape Keys…and Booleans.
These are the modifiers applied on Larry.

Soooo lets see. Let me try to recreate it.

It’s just a boolean modifier!

Here’s what I did.
First I made a shape let’s call it the “head”. And then I go into edit mode duplicate it, and scale it down slightly on the inside. This will be the mouth color. So in this case, I’ll use black.

Then I created a new object that’ll be the shape of the mouth with another cube.
Then I apply the boolean modifier to the “head”, and the target being this new mouth shape.

Then position it over the “head”, and here’s the trick:
it looks like this… but…

make sure to go into the viewport display and select THIS

and it’ll become the cutout like above.
And then I assume you just use lattices and shapekeys to actually animate the thing.

I hope this wasn’t too cluttered! I was literally updating this as I was figuring it out myself!

Well I did download Cmanlfip’s Veggietales models and I am familiar with Booleans, its just that I need something a bit smoother. The edges look a bit flat.

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In fact, I found another Veggietales fan animator. The way he seems to animate mouths is by using curves.


Might I add that I have made a setup similar to what I want as the final product, just with the curve turned into a whole in the mouth.

Going by the video (which, by the way, was awesome), it looks like he prototypes with curves to get his mouth shapes and animations down, but converts it to a mesh to use as a shape keyed boolean in the final render.