The making of Tabatha Veazie – Animated 2D portrait – part 4

Yesterday I finished working on the eyebrows and eyebrow shadow. Today I am working on the eyes!

Other parts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The eyebrows gave me a bit of a headache at the start because I had to find the right hierarchy to put them in. I ended up with 14 deformers divided over 4 texture parts. The blue parts are the actual texture image.

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Welcome to deformer hell. This wiggly brow is what all that work boils down to!

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You know that thing you do when you draw an expression and your face automatically mimics it without you realizing it? Working on this makes me do the same thing. Needless to say, my eyebrows hurt now. I might still add a bit of shadow parts to emphasize the frown later on.

Not only the eyebrows but also the eyes are very important when conveying emotion. The eyes are often underestimated. Simply raising the lower eyelids works wonders for showing giddiness or anxiousness.

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Blinking is next! This is a bit tricky to get right. As you may have seen in the texture sheet, I drew closed eyelids to move on top of the open eye. I also added an eyeline that is an exact match with the upper eyelid line. This is done to smooth out the blending between the open upper lid and the closed upper lid. It’s very hard to keep the dark eyeline from jagging up when deforming the lid for animation, so the single eyeline lies on top to make sure it looks correct.

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Making characters blink is always one of my favorite parts in the animation process. Something so little can already add so much life.

Next up, the mouth and finishing up the head movement!