Learn how to create animated eyeblinks, from simple to complex.
- [Narrator] Eye blinks are usually used just to keep the character alive. So you'll see a character walk into a stand position and not do much, but they'll blink like one, two, three, four, you know, until the scene's finished. And this is the standard, simple eye blink pattern. If you're setting up a puppet or a rig, these are the basic poses you want. The first one is the eyes open, then the next is one third closed, then closed, then one third open, and then open. Now, these are usually given in animation books but they're assuming that you're animating on twos, meaning each frame is held for two frames, so this one be frame one, three, frame five and usually holds the eye closed position for at least two frames.
And then another, in between that and this, and then between that and this. So you're looking at one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, about 10 frames to get from here to here, if that makes sense. So if you're animating traditionally, it's basically these five drawings on held on twos. So let's see what that looks like when animated. That's it. Pretty simple. You'll see that on pretty much any given TV show.
It doesn't come more basic than that. But it's quite respectable and it works. So now we'll take it up a notch, and move the eyebrows with the eye. Now if you did this every time the character blinks, it might start looking a bit squinty. But it's certainly nice to have it for stronger blinks. It doesn't mean you have to go all the way down with the eyebrows. You could vary it a little bit. Maybe just take them down that far. So maybe you have the eyebrows here on the closed image.
But it certainly doesn't mean your eyebrows are locked in when you do blink. So you have a continuum of possible motions from the eyebrows, don't move to, the eyebrows move like this. And let's see what this looks like. That's pretty good. And you notice as well, I've used the blink to cover the change of direction of the pupils. So he starts looking to the left and he blinks, and then by the time his eyes open, he's heard something off to the right.
So again, that also emphasizes the fact that these kinds of eyebrow motions are good for changes of expression. I could have changed the expressions of the eyebrows themselves to make them look frightened or happy or whatever. So that's the kind of intermediate eye blink. Let's look at the strongest one. So this would be a really snazzy eye blink. The thing to watch out for is how it's really dialing up the complexity of just exactly what are we looking at here with all these creases.
And again, a very, very talented animator that I used to work with was a master of these kinds of shapes. And I would do the follow up, or the in betweens, on his scenes and many times I would wonder, what am I looking at here? (chuckles) Which one of these shapes is moving into which one of these other shapes? Because he would have so many little details in there. But this is basically pretty simple. This line here becomes this line. And that is also this line here. So this triangular wedge is going to in between into the full lower eyelid.
And pretty much the same on the way out. And this crease here is the upper eyelid. It's going to get totally squashed by the brow as it moves down. So no need to worry about that after this frame. So that's pretty much it. Let's take a look at this in animation. That's pretty nice. It's a good, strong, interesting squint. I've also held the closed shape for I think two frames. So it reads more. If I had held it for one, there'd be a danger that the closed eye wouldn't read very well.
You could even hold it for three or four if you think it's still not doing enough work. So that is the really strong like, blink of astonishment. He has seen something horrible or amazing happening, and this is the, this is the kind of blink you want and not the eyebrow not moving form. That will just look maybe like, underwhelming, whereas this is a really, really strong reaction. So again, you have a spectrum of eye blinks from the stiff to the extremely dramatic.
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