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10 Second Tip: The Pupil Drop

The Pupil Drop Animation Tip

Kevan Shorey was kind enough to send along a terrific tip regarding pupil movements during blinks. By allowing the pupil to drop and resolve along WITH the lid, you can add a subtle bit of animation that instantly injects life and soul without much extra work!

Originally tweeted as an #animtip, Kevan had this to say about the pupil drop:

animtip Tweet about pupils in blink animations

Being a visual fellow, I asked for a bit of image-explanation and Kevan was kind enough to follow up with this.

Pupil Movement on a Blink(click image for a larger view)

The next time you have a close-up shot, why not try this nifty tip to see just how much it adds to your scene? Remember, it’s the little things that take animation from good to great!

Kevan Shorey is an animator with Dreamworks who graciously shares his years of wisdom and experience online @kevanshorey and on his blog found here. A huge thanks to him for this clever addition to our animation skillsets!

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8 comments

  1. Sabina K says:

    I tried it out, it really adds something! Thanks for this! :)

  2. Josh K says:

    Personally, I don’t like it. Human eyes just don’t do that. There are other ways to brink life into a blink such as slightly moving the eyebrows down, moving the cheeks up, or slightly turning the head.

    • J.K. Riki says:

      I think subtle movement of the eyebrows work really well too. (Not sure how one would move the cheeks up on a blink…) I know this particular tip is one 3D animators tend to use well, so maybe it’s a case of 2D vs 3D where one works out better?

      On Twitter someone responded that dropping the pupil works best in close up shots, and when you do it at anything outside a medium shot it looks odd. It would be fun to try a bunch of thinks with this tip and see what works best. Future article maybe! :)

    • CGI Calvin says:

      turning is always better but the drop works good to.

  3. Sunkari says:

    hi this is a nice tip..

    and i have small issue about lids….from the start to end of my scene i always keep a little movement on lids then only i feel the eyes are alive ..is it wrong ,,,,r i can hold some frames ..when i have to hold exactly…

    • J.K. Riki says:

      I’m not sure I’m 100% clear what you mean, but my general advice is “If it looks good, it isn’t wrong.” Some people will disagree with me, but in my opinion animation is all about entertaining the person (or people) watching. If that means doing something odd or cheating a movement or pose, then I’d say go for it. As long as it works towards the ultimate goal of entertainment!

  4. Calculon says:

    I think it looks really good, I just tried it. Except like said if it’s far away then it looks terrible ha ha.

  5. Claire says:

    Cool tip by a cool guy. ;)

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