Viseme Cheat Sheet

Welcome to the Viseme Cheat Sheet! The Viseme Cheat Sheet is a visual guide to English phonemes for audiences working on speech animation.

Things to note:

  • This sheet is meant to be a quick reference. For a deeper dive: 1) Book a specialized lecture for your team 2) If you’re a Premium member, see the Viseme & Speech Reference Guide for more in-depth references with videos and blended consonants. (So far just the consonants are posted, but vowels and blended consonants will be up soon.) 
  • There may be some missing phonemes and visemes. Feel free to comment on this page to point out any specific ones (already aware about ng & y).
  • Each viseme is variable. While some visemes possess fixed characteristics required for mechanical production (e.g. b/p/m will always need the lips to close), facial actions required for each viseme will fluctuate depending on numerous factors including – but not limited to – individual facial features and speech context.
  • Visemes in the wild (during natural speech) are much more complicated and context-dependent than the isolated visemes presented in this document.
Check out the key terms at the bottom of the page!

the consonants

neutral / silent

no sound, relaxed

neutral / sil

b / p / m

b

as in buccinator

bilabial, plosive, voiced
slides 1 (closed) & 2 (open)

p

as in pout

bilabial. plosivevoiceless
slides 3 (closed) & 4 (open)

m

as in masseter

bilabial, nasal, voiced
slides 5

Slide through carousal, and hover over images to reveal phoneme & phoneme state.

IMPORTANT: /b/ and /p/ require the lips to part after the initial lip closure in order to propel air for the plosive sound – hence the references for closed and open states.

ʧ / ʤ / ʃ / ʒ

ʧ

as in chin

post-alveolar, affricate, voiceless
slide 1

ʤ

as in jaw, gem

post-alveolar, affricate, voiced
slide 2

ʃ

as in shine, spatial

post-alveolar, fricative, voiceless
slide 3

ʒ

as in genre, measure

post-alveolar, fricative, voiced
not shown in slides

Slide through carousal, and hover over images to reveal phoneme & phoneme state.

d / t

d

as in depressor

alveolar, plosive, voiced
slide 1

t

as in temporalis

alveolar, plosive, voiceless
slide 2

Slide through carousal, and hover over images to reveal phoneme & phoneme state.

f / v

f

as in face

labiodental, fricative, voiceless
slide 1

v

as in viseme

labiodental, fricative, voiced
slide 2

Slide through carousal, and hover over images to reveal phoneme & phoneme state.

g / k

g

as in guess

velar, plosive, voiced
slide 1

k

as in king

velar, plosive, voiceless
slide 2

Slide through carousal, and hover over images to reveal phoneme & phoneme state.

h

h

as in hippocampus, happy

glottal, fricative, voiceless
realtime, then slowmo

h viseme reference

l

l

as in labial

alveolar, lateral, voiced

L viseme reference

n

n

as in nasal

alveolar, nasal, voiced

N viseme reference

r

r

as in red

post-alveolar, approximant, voiced

R viseme reference

s / z

s

as in see

alveolar, fricative, voiceless
slide 1

z

as in zygomatic

alveolar, fricative, voiced
slide 2

Slide through carousal, and hover over images to reveal phoneme & phoneme state.

θ / ð (th)

θ

as in wreath (voiceless)

dental, fricative, voiceless

TH viseme reference

ð

as in thoracic (voiced)

dental, fricative, voiced

Example not present. ð is in the same viseme category as θ.

the vowels

ɑ (ah)

ɑ

as in jaw, because, stop

not distinguishing between [ɑ] and [ɔ]
A viseme reference

æ

æ

as in cat, FACS, zygomaticus

æ phoneme

ɛ (eh)

ɛ

as in any, kept, levator

E viseme reference

i (ee)

i (ee)

as in eel, cheese, meat

ee viseme

ɪ (ih)

ɪ

as in lip, which

ɪ viseme reference

u (oo)

u

as in food, rue, mood

u (oo) viseme / phoneme reference

ʊ (ouh)

ʊ

as in puller, look, good

ʊ (uh) viseme

oʊ (oh)

as in lowerer, slow, moat

ɔɪ (oy)

ɔɪ

as in joy, soy, join

ə (uh)

ə

as in upper, other

Check back soon 🙂

key terms

alveolar: tip of tongue touches the gum line behind the teeth (the alveolar ridge)

bilabial: upper and lower lips come together

labiodental: lip touches the teeth (Usually it is the lower lip touching the top teeth; however, an equivalent sound can technically be achieved from the reverse.)

dental: tongue interacts with teeth either by being placed between upper and lower teeth or against back of upper teeth

post-alveolar: tongue is placed right behind the gum line behind teeth

palatal: tongue is raised against the center of mouth roof

velar: back of tongue touches or is held close to the velum (soft palate)

glottal: air sound is produced by stopping flow to glottis 

labiovelar approximant: lips and velum both constrict – but not completely (Read more about approximants here.)

æ

as in cat, FACS, zygomaticus