Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stop Motion How-To: Eyes and Eyebrows

The most expressive part of the body are the eyes and eyebrows. Gromit from the Wallace and Gromit series is arguably the most expressive and emotional character in the whole series, but because he can't talk, his emotions are communicated in his facial expressions, particularly his eyes and eyebrows. The eyes show where your model is focusing his attention, and the eyebrows indicate the type and intensity of emotion in the reaction. You must try to mesh the eyes and the brow movements so they work as one. If you can accomplish this, you will be able to create realistic facial expression for your model.


There are quite a a few ways to create an eye. I would recommend the plastic Derlin eyeball (check them out here at Amazon). In order to animate it, you will need to melt a small hole in the ball. To do so you'll need the following supplies, in addition to the eyeball: 1. An old needle. 2. A hand-held propane torch. 3. A pair of pliers.

Start up the torch flame and turn the knob until you can see a little blue in the flame (be sure not to turn it up to high). Next grab the non-pointy end of the needle with the pliers and hold the needle's pointy end in the flame until the end of the needle is red. Then prick the needle into the eyeball, in approximately the location of the pupil, until it begins to melt a small hole in the plastic. Do this several times until you've melted a hole about halfway through the plastic eyeball. Afterwards, paint the pupil area, around the hole, (see pic above) with a non-chip paint.


Eyebrows are actually very easy. Basically, all you need to do is carve a hair pattern in a small strip of clay and stick it on your models forehead.

1 comment:

jriggity said...

cool post man....the eyes are a powerfull too!