Research-Emotions in the Eyes

“The eyes are the window to the soul” is a quote that I totally believe in, they mask was a person is truly thinking, expressing what we try not to show. (See this article for some amazing photos that encapsulate this theory).

0c8da9c8cbb1762dc9dd314383d96b7eHuman eye expressions-how could we implement these into our character? (, 2016).

For our character herself, we decided that expressions sheets would be needed. Although the character has no mouth-so the sheets will account for this- we realised that a lot that needs to be depicted can be in the way of the characters dialogue and expression.

I found the below expression sheet for Manny from Bugs Life (1998). The character himself is a Mantis- his eyes being one of the most distinguished features on his face. I found him an excellent reference when designing the expressions of our own character.

Mantis expressions256

Manny from Bugs Life (1998). (Oliver, 2010).

Another character I looked into was that of Donald Duck. His grumpy, angry personality matches with our characters nicely.


Donald Duck expression sheet. (, 2016).

The recognition of facial expression is actually a real science, something of course, I wanted to look into. Conánn recently mentioned the scientist whose work forms the basis of the show Lie to Me (2009-2011). His work forms the premise that through the study of facial expression, the emotions felt by a person can be mapped. This process has also been introduced into the world of Autism teaching- were people lack this perception of emotion or facial tracking. (Below is a path of eye-line on average from that of a group of controlled and autistic testers).


Pathways of the eye-line. (Pelphrey, 2016).

As you can see, the Autistic sufferer follows no centralised facial pathway- unable to perceive emotion. This was a little off topic, but working with kids that have severe Autism makes me want to look into it more.

The opening sequence for Lie to Me(YouTube, 2016).

Dr Paul Ekman has worked as an international lie expert, with the CIA, and on movies with companies like Pixar (Inside Out). He has written several books on the matter, including Telling LiesEmotions Revealed and Unmasking the Face. Ekman’s worked has proven that facial expressions are entirely universal and do not differentiate from each other, his work previously discredited, the belief being that expressions are culturally determined.

Ekman has discovered that the face portrays a thing known as micro expressions,these hidden or brie, needing altered footage to sometimes locate them on the face. They are directly linked to the seven basic emotions including happiness, anger, surprise and despair. I recommend checking out Ekman’s blog– he analysises each episode of Lie to Me to explain the science of each plot more accurately.

References (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

YouTube. (2016). LIE TO ME “FACES” PROMO. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Pelphrey, K. (2016). Autism: Insights from the Study of the Social Brain. [online] Noba. Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Oliver, J. (2010). Character and Creature Design Notes: Model Sheets 101-Part 2. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016]. (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].


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