How To Animated Blinks and Eye Movement

4 Blinks Every Animator Should Know

How to animate blinks and eye darts

Blinking and eye movements gives life to a character, even when it’s standing still. Each animator develops his/her own blinking style, but in this video I’ll show you some of my bread and butter blinks and eye darts that never fail.

The video covers:

  • Reasons for blinking.
  • 4 types of blinks.
  • Eye darts.

Why do we blink?

A blink is not a random thing. Yes, we sometimes blink because our eyes are dry, but there are a few universal reasons for blinking that an animator needs to be aware of:

Head turn.

Try something right now: look to your left and then quickly look to you right. Did you blink? Odds are you did. A head turn (or any fast head movement) would almost always cause us to blink.

A change of thought

When a character realizes something or thinks of a solution to a problem, a blink would emphasize it and convey that emotion.


After a long lingering look a blink can help keep things alive.

Types of blinks

1) Regular blink

Closing lids (2 frames) hold eyes closed (1 frame) opening lids (3 frames).


  • Staring
  • Head movement
  • Character is bored
  • Keeping the character alive

2) Fast blink

Closing lids (2 frames) opening lids (3 frames)


  • Character is anxious
  • Something went past the character’s face
  • Character is angry

3) Long blink

Closing lids (3 frames) hold eyes closed (2 frames) opening lids (4 frames)


  • Long head movement
  • Thought change

4) Eye batting

Close lids 3/4 (1 frame) opening lids (2)


  • Flirting

Eye movement


Eye darts are those quick movements of the pupils. They usually take 3 frames: The original position of the pupil, a transitional frame, and the ending position. there are 3 types of eye darts that I use:

  • ¬†Left to right

When a character is having a conversation, the left to right eye darts conveys the character looking in his partner’s eyes while they talk.

  • Up and down

When a character is sizing up the person they’re talking to. Can be used when a character is dismissive or fearful.

  • Triangle

When entering a new place, the triangle eye dart goes from left to right and then up (forming a triangle shape) conveying that the character is examining the room or the environment around him.

Changing point of interest

This eye movement occurs when a character is shifting his gaze from one point of interest to another. This should take 3-4 frames.

Bonus video: The Pixar Blink

If you liked this tutorial, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and to our YouTube Channel!
Making an Animated Short