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Eye trouble

Discussion in 'General Figure Talk' started by AlbertD, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. AlbertD PlanetFigure Supporter

    This is not really a question but an observation. I have two 1/10 scale under my belt and although the eyes are far from perfect they look like eyes. I know it will improve with practice.

    I decided to try a 120mm full figure of a knight in armor and chainmail. I have seen some figures this size and smaller on this forum that have a higher level of detail than my 1/10 scale busts. I'm sure when you guys started out you thought it was impossible too but man they are small. I'm using a number 5 Optivisor but I may need more power.
    Mirofsoft and Oda like this.
  2. JasonB A Fixture

    Same boat here, but I've never busted out my optivisor. I still layer 2-3 different sets of reading glasses until I can see what I am doing. Utterly ridiculous, but its what I got used to.
    Oda and AlbertD like this.
  3. sd0324 PlanetFigure Supporter

    I've been doing this a while and eyes are still my big hurdle. If I can't get the eyes right (to me) I just can't move on. Always a thing.

    Airkid, Oda and AlbertD like this.
  4. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Albert

    Believe me your not alone it's all practice in my opinion , I use a Mag 2.5 Optivisor but also recently glasses of about 2 ...but not at same time !

    You are getting happier with each piece so it will continue

    Do a search here ref optivisor

    Not sure if you have seen this https://www.planetfigure.com/pages/Mark-Benette-Eye-Tutorial/

    AlbertD and DaddyO like this.
  5. Babelfish A Fixture

    We're all our own biggest critics, but try not to get too hung up on eye detail because some of what you see and marvel at on the forums is smoke & mirrors, if not out & out trickery and dishonesty.

    For example, we've had guys come on here and on the Facebook groups (they all seem to be from Japan for some reason) posting up pictures of 1/35 figures with highly detailed eyes (right down to tiny blood vessels) and claiming - in all seriousness - that they've painted them using a microscope :ROFLMAO:. And incredibly, some folks (who probably still believe in Santa Claus and have never heard of Photoshop) actually fall for this rubbish and say "wow that's amazing, such skill". In fact there was another thread about it on here just a couple of weeks ago. It's a complete nonsense.

    Some guys are talented enough to get a passable level of detail (and just as important: symmetry) on eyes. Especially on busts and large-scale figures. That's do-able with practice and a very steady hand. But even then, sometimes I suspect that sleight-of-hand could be involved. Bottom line is that the smaller you go in size/scale, the more limits there are in how much detail you can achieve - no matter how good a painter you are otherwise. And when you get down to 1/35 or 54mm, über-detail on eyes is simply impossible.

    Just keep practicing and if you can get a reasonable approximation of an eye (passable semblance of an outline, whites, iris and maybe a pupil, then possibly a very thin pink wash to add more "life" at the end), then job's a good 'un. Remember though that you or whoever else will be admiring your finished piece will in all likelihood be looking at it just with the Mk. 1 eyeball. Probably not with a magnifier - and definitely not through a microscope.

    - Steve
    China Dave, Airkid, AlbertD and 4 others like this.
  6. fogie A Fixture

    I agree with the broad tenets of Steve's (Babelfish) view on this - although I can't really understand the angst behind some of his comments about. photoshop, santa claus, so forth. I don't believe the artists he's referring to - whether Japanese or Russian - are cheating, or those who view their stuff are deluded. The painters might be obsessives but they're certainly extraordinarily skilled. Can't really speak for the viewers. But leaving that aside, he's right that it's possible for us mere mortals to paint with practice a passable 54mm eye as long as we pay close attention to the shape, and control the intensity of contrast......and we don't forger the catchlight. Mike
    Mike - The Kiwi, AlbertD and DaddyO like this.
  7. DaddyO A Fixture

    Morning Albert and Jason

    Sorry to hear about your difficulties - all I can say is join the club ;) Everybody struggles with eyes and although it gets easier with practice it never gets easy.

    I've not got any in progress shots of how to paint eyes, but there are plenty of tutorials about which may or not prove useful. I would say that a magnifier of some kind is very handy (Like Kev I use an optivisor, although mines a cheap version with pastic lenses)

    A few tips which you may find helpful if using acryilics -

    Never use white on the eye EVER. Nope not even a little bit. Okay maybe you can use it for the catchlight, but nothing else :) (I don't actually own any pure white and use 'Off white' from Vallejo instead)
    Okay joking aside using pure white anywhere on eyes makes it very difficult to avoid the toy soldier look so it's best put aside, at least when you are starting.

    Paint the whole face area first in a basic skin clour similar to the final tone (This makes it easier to judge colour/contrast)

    For eyes and other details I use either a no1 brush with a good point (Smaller brushes don't hold enough paint in the belly of the brush which can lkead to the paint drying on the brush)
    Paint the sclera ('white' of the eye) first not worrying too much about the final shape. On larger figures you may want to add some shade to this at the bottom by adding a touch of grey.

    On larger figures add a slight pink corner near the nose (You can add ore detail and tone to this if you are really keen and the eye is large enough)

    Once they white is dry it's time for the iris. It's much easier if the eyes are looking slightly to the side (which is handy since this adds life to the eye as well - win, win) The pupils are roughly in line with the corners of the mouth to give you an idea of spacing.
    If you are right handed then paint the left hand pupil first. This single tip makes the whole process much easier because your brush isn't covering the eye you are trying to match :)

    Leave the iris to dry and then add the pupil. If you are struggling with paint drying on the brush before you touch the tip to the model try adding some glaze medium or similar.

    Now is the time to shape the eye. I find a basically straight or very slightly arced line across the bottom gives a good 'masculine' eye. For the top I suaully paint the inside corner in a line angled up towards the eyebrow and then add a curved line over this to give the top of the eye. I'll use a slightly darker shade for the line across the top (but never black) and it's easier to start lighter and then darken if needed later. You can paint up to these with the shadow eye socket colour to get a very fine line so concentrate only on the edge next to the eye.

    Final touch is the catchlight which will really bring teh eye to life. You can dust off that bottle of white for this if you wish ;) Add some glaze medium and get a full brush of paint and shape the tip to a nice point. Check the paint flow by trying to put a tiny spot on the back of your nail and if all is well take a breath and let it half out and add a tiny spot on the iris. Then repeat the whole process for the other eye.

    Stand back and admire your lovely eyes.

    There's lots that could be added, but hopefully these ideas will help

    Swede face.jpg Mandan close up.jpg Teutonic Knight 6.jpg eyes 3.jpg eyes 1.jpg Bali  close up.jpg
  8. Ferris A Fixture

    And remember it’s better to have trouble with the figure’s eyes than with your own... :)

    I remember in the ‘Verlinden days’ it was best practice to paint 1:35 scale eyes with a black dash first, and then two tiny white spots per eye. That left a black spot outlined and was a perfectly acceptable representation of an eye in that scale.

    Standards have gone up, but we should beware from trying to keep up with such a moving target.
    The hobby is for enjoyment, and to enjoy we should accept a certain absolute standard we cán achieve, rather than the work of a few masters.

    Some of the master’s work is incredible, but still very real. Admire it, but don’t use it as a reference.

  9. Babelfish A Fixture

    No "angst" here Mike. None at all. Just calling it as I see it, i.e. my BS detector hits Red when I see people claiming that they paint 1/35 scale optical blood vessels under a microscope :ROFLMAO:. If anything I find it laughable.

    - Steve
  10. kagemusha A Fixture

    My view on the subject of eyes painted under a 'microscope'...what exactly do they use to paint them...no brush I know of could do veins/blood vessels in the eye of a 1/35 figure :whistle:
    Babelfish, Nap, AlbertD and 1 other person like this.
  11. Ferris A Fixture

    Optivisor and microscopes are great tools. Perhaps there are special, very expensive ones, that magnify everything except the brush. That would be great for painting eyes!
    AlbertD and housecarl like this.
  12. kagemusha A Fixture

    From my own experiences with an optivisor...they can be a double edged sword...so to speak...in as much as...when painting extremely small/fine detail...the tip of even the finest brush appears bigger than the detail you are trying to paint.
    AlbertD likes this.
  13. AlbertD PlanetFigure Supporter

    I was thinking of getting a slightly more powerful optivisor but maybe a slightly weaker one would be a better choice. Just enough to enlarge the work without focusing too closely on a specific tight area.
  14. Alex A Fixture

    Since everything related to the eyes is my normal 'work', let me add a little bit to the conversation.
    whenever you are increasing the magnification (optivisor for example) you will reduce the field of view and focal length accordingly.
    So something like a 3.5X lens is not going to be very comfortable during long painting sessions.
    Since my vision is 20/20 corrected with glasses, I will paint most of the time with a 1.5X to 2X lens
    but for faces on 54, 75 and 90mm, I will shift to a 2.5X to 2.75X lens
    the advantage of a surgical microscope is that you can have crazy mount of magnification without changing your focal length..
    But that's a little bit overkill.. Also a Leica or Zeiss surgical microscope is over 100K but such a pleasure to use :)
  15. AlbertD PlanetFigure Supporter

    Thank you for the explanation Alex. I have a number 5 lens which is 2.5X. I think I'll give a 1.5X a try for longer sessions. I do find if I use the 2.5X too long I get a bit of a headache. I do take it off every few minutes and focus on distance.
    Mike - The Kiwi, Nap and housecarl like this.
  16. Wayneb A Fixture

    And for all you eyeball painting geniuses,... after all this....How do you decide where the "catchlight" goes?...That tiny little dot that represents a reflection of light that makes a big difference depending on the scale you are painting......for me ...overlaying optivisor lenses and looking like Marty Feldman when done painting those little buggers is no picnic.

  17. Mirofsoft A Fixture

    For the white dots, I used ( past tense ) white chinese ink and the smallest pen available
    For the black, you can use felt pens; a 0.1 mm for instance or even 0.05 mm ( staedler )
    housecarl likes this.
  18. fogie A Fixture

    Discovered this...seems highly relevant.

    eye trouble.jpg

  19. AlbertD PlanetFigure Supporter

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