Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Lulu - animation puppet eyes

There are several possibilities for animation puppet eyes. The Lulu puppet has particularly small eyes due to her age and the scale (1:6) and her realistic proportions. For this size of puppet she should have 4-5 mm eyes, bearing in mind most of the  human eyeball doesn't show and is in the skull.

I looked at ready made eyes, there are a few on the market but not so many of this size and most are flat rather than spherical.

(add pic of bought eyes)

It makes more sense to make the eyes myself as then I can add a hole for turning them with a pin. 

The eyeball can be made of apoxy sculpt (or milliput), polymer clay (fimo or sculpey) or with plastic beads. Here I have made eyes with white 5mm plastic beads.

First the beads are set into a small piece of clay to keep them stationary while working. I am using a basic superglue (you can use a superglue accelerator to speed up drying time) and some steel floristry wire.

Each piece of wire is glued to one of the plastic beads being held as vertical and centrally as possible while the glue dries which only takes around 20 seconds. I've then placed the eye stalks into a block of hard foam to  hold them steady. 

I have used a spherical filing attachment for my Dremel to very gently round out a dip into the top of each eye. You have to do this very slowly and gently at first or the eye will spin off its stalk. The Dremel has to be held centrally and straight but once it starts to file it will stay in the right place.

This is how the filed hollow in the beads looks.

 Next I have used a white and pearlised blue nail varnish to paint the iris of the eye using a needle and a very small amount. I have painted these using a magnifying headset. When dry, the pupil is added with a little black acrylic paint.

To finish the eye I have used Magic-Glos which is a UV cured resin. This naturally domes above the iris to give a lens effect. It takes about 15 minutes to dry in direct sunlight or UV light.

The eyes can then be snapped off their stems or a small rotating hole drilled in the sides.

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