The Hanna-Barbera chart – classic

Classic use
The Hanna-Barbera mouth chart is an animation industry standard.

It was developed in the 60s for efficient animation of tv-style cartoons, such as The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Johnny Quest, and others.

It consists of 8 basic shapes, to help animate characters talking, singing, or in any other way sounding off:


SILENCE is mouth A.
Mouth A is also used for the closed-mouth consonants: M,B and P.


Mouth B is used mainly for the clenched-teeth consonants: N, D, G, K


Mouth C opens wider for I and E


Mouth D opens the widest of them all for the A sounds: hut, ate, hide


This mouth is for the "AW" sound, as in cow. It differs from the pout by lowering the mouth edges and jutting the chin.


Mouth F pouts for the "OH" sound, as in ought, part, and oh!


Mouth G - Upper teeth bite the lower lip for "F" and "V" sounds.


Mouth H - The "FL" sound in "flag" lifts the tongue up under the upper teeth. This viseme is found in all cartoons: Even the crude animation in South Park shows the tongue for "FL" and "L".

Today, the Hanna-Barbera chart it is found all over. Look for the 8 basic shapes, and you will see them in most animated series:
  • Dexter's Lab
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park
  • Walther & Gromit

Contemporary use

Here are two examples of contemporary use of the chart: Adventure Time, by Pendleton Ward and the Frederator Studios.

Finn the Human – (c) Nickelodeon/Viacom International Inc.

Above image is linked from this blog post

Jake the Dog – (c) Nickelodeon/Viacom International Inc.

Above image is linked from this blog post

Basic speech in Adventure Time is actually very un-dramatic: small mouth movements, that don't contort the shape of the face – they save the fireworks for dramatic phrases.

One quirk is that for the TH sound, the tongue pops out under the front teeth, like Daffy Duck:

Adventure Time is very well-written, so every bit of dialogue is important in advancing the plot, and calls attention to itself without needing theatrical animation of the speech.

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