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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Note: This is a repost of an old tutorial whose links to pictures were broken with the software update at HF.

Eyes, eyes, eyes. Why do so many prop builders focus on making perfect eyes? Well, it's the first thing ToTs look at to determine if it's a fake monster or a live actor. You could at least fool them for a few seconds if the eyes look real. For most scares... that's all the time you need.

Okay, here goes the tut... get your wine out.

Supplies Needed:
Clear Eyeballs from the Skeleton Store: https://skeletonstore.com/pair-of-blue-eyeballs-c-100008
10" 20 gauge wire
Pupils template
Clear gloss acrylic paint
White acrylic paint
Red acrylic paint
Yellow acrylic paint

Tools Needed:
Wire cutter
Spare foam
Butter knife
Thin, long-haired brush
Large brush
Paint mixing jars

Get the Eyes: The Skeleton Store sells these nifty clear eyeballs. Here's a picture of them inside a skull and a link to the website where you can get them. They are $2 a pair:

Remove Cornea and Clean: The cornea pops out of the eye with careful prying. You'll see that fake blue is just painted on. Carefully scratch off the paint using a butter knife trying not to scratch the clear plastic underneath.

Pick your Pupil: This is a template of many different kinds and colors of irises. They were gleaned from Haunter's Hangout Terrific Easy Eyes, taxidermy sites and just plucked from all over the web. Here’s a link to a bigger .jpg, if needed: https://www.halloweenforum.com/media/terras-halloween-eyes.584624/

Insert Wire: Cut the wire in half so you have two pieces. Jam each piece into the back of the eye. This allows you stand up the eye into scrap foam to make painting easier. Also, it’s a stem that can be used to insert the eyes into your prop.

Note: Here you can see the cornea sitting over one of the pupils on the paper. The eye on the left is the original pupil that came with the eye. You will also notice that the eye is already painted white. That will be explained in the next step.

Paint Whites: Mix white acrylic paint with the clear gloss and a little water to keep some translucency. Do about three coats. You want the paint to add subsequent translucent coats of white to keep that 'jelly' look to the eye.

Paint Red Veins: Paint in some blood red color for the veins using the long, thin brush.

Paint Yellow: There is a yellow cast to an eye so mix a very translucent blend of yellow and white and paint it from the back to the front but not going all the way to the pupil.

Gloss the Eye: Use the clear gloss paint to give your eyeball a wet look.

Insert Pupils: Cut the pupils out of the printed sheet of paper. For this model's eye, it needed to have a dark ring around the outside edge (looked cool by contrasting the light eye). If you want to do that, take a Sharpie and outline the outside edge of the pupils. Place the cut-out pupils into the hole in the eye and pop the cornea back in place.

You may find that the cornea won't quite reset back in place fully. To be sure it stays in place, paint the rim of the cornea with clear gloss paint. When dry, it will hold it in place. Be careful with using glue as some glues (especially super glue) will haze out the eye.

For giggles, here's a few of the pupils in the eyeballs.

The scale of the eyeball is slightly bigger than a real eye.

I can see!

This picture demonstrates the power of realistic eyes. Inserted into a plain foam head – it gives life and realism. Our animal instinct is to search out the eyes of the adversary. Knowing where their eyes are directed tells us what options we have (fight or flee). Focus your time and efforts on the eyes of your monsters. The rest of the monster’s look is just bonus.

Eyes are artists' secret weapon to creating convincing portraits. Look at the blue jacket. So little time was spent on the detail of it.

In case you wanted to see the entire build of the model using these eyes, check out her video:

Here she is in action:

BTW: Was asked if the eyes could be lit. Good question. Wrapped one up in a towel and shone a light behind it.... Why, yes. Yes it does:

Thanks for looking at my tutorial. Now, go have some wine.

90 Posts
That statue is so awesome. When I saw the first picture I thought you used a professional manikin. Such incredible work... so lifelike!!!!
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