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Eyes for newbies

May 21, 2016

    1. I have been trying to go through as many posts as I can to figure out what the best plan is for purchasing eyes. I know that size is usually posted under a doll's stats when purchasing, but I have heard that even what is posted isn't always what is the best fit for the doll. I also have a hard time visualizing what eyes look like when they are just sitting there as eyes. When they are put in a doll head, it's much easier to get an idea, but most places don't advertise a picture with the eyes in a doll head. So is it a lot of trial and error when purchasing eyes for your BJD? Or do people follow a general plan? Or is there a site that I should know about that is better to shop at for eyes? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

      And yeah..I haven't even figured out which eyes people even prefer. There are so many to choose from. Do people prefer certain kinds over others? Are there types to avoid?

      Thanks for taking the time to answer.
    2. I would have posted this under newbie topics, but I guess I just graduated from posting there. And yet I still know nothing...haha.
    3. It is a lot of trial and error. Usually a doll can go up or down a size from what's listed, but not always. Even within the same size range, some eyes are higher domed than others, and Iris size varies, so even if the width of the whole eye is right, you might not like the look in the doll. What works in one sculpt may look entirely different in a different doll.

      I like to buy from SaffrinDoll because they have a large variety of colors, sizes and types and usually show a sample of one in a doll. I prefer silicone most of the time because they're squishy and easier to fit in various eye wells, plus they have lots of realistic detail to them. Some people like acrylics because the price is usually lower and they can have a lot of detail too, but sometimes the cheapest ones look grainy and don't catch the light as well and colored eye putty can stain them. Glass is very durable, doesn't yellow or stain and some look more realistic than others. I only own one pair of urethane that I won in a contest, and they're really nice and detailed, catch light well, but urethane eyes do tend to be the most expensive.

      About irises and domes. Some eyes are labelled as 'high dome'. These eyes will usually show light and color well in the dolls they fit, but many dolls cannot wear them properly. If your doll has narrow eye openings, is a sleepy head, or has very small eyes, a high done may mean the eye sits too far back in the head and has large gaps around it. This will completely defeat the purpose of showing off the color. On Iris size, dolls with very large eyes usually don't have a problem, but dolls with small eyes or narrow openings may need smaller irises or you'll end up with no sclera showing at all. Larger irises tend to look more childish, fantasy themed or animalistic while smaller irises appear to be more teen/adult and human. Sometimes you will need a larger eye to avoid gaps, but a small Iris for the look you want. Captured in Glass will custom make eyes to your specification, so if you need a 16mm eye with an Iris the standard size of a 12mm eye, they will do that. There may be others, but that's the main one I know.

      You may need to try several times to find what you like, and everything is a preference. I've been in the hobby for over eight years and it's still trial and error to me. I tried five sets of eyes in my newest girl before finding a look I like!
      • x 4
    4. Hi there! I get your struggle, I rarely ever enjoy the company default eyes. Unfortunately other than asking other people what size eyes they are using, there isn't an absolute way to see how the eyes will look in the doll. The size the company puts is never "incorrect", but often times the company will recommend eyes that make the doll look like... well, a doll. If you prefer realism with smaller pupils, going one size down usually works.

      What I usually do is I wait until my doll comes, and I figure out what size eyes they are currently wearing (since most dolls come with a random pair of eyes). Then I'll decide if I want to go up or down a size from there.

      When it comes to the type of eyes, I made a post like this before but I can't seem to find it. Ah well, retyping it is.

      So there are 4 types of eyes.

      Acrylic(~$3-$10): cheapest type of eyes; made of plastic; less limiting than other types of eyes and can be made in any design and color; can become brittle over time; does not capture light well/does not photograph as well

      Glass(~$10-$15): most commonly used type of eyes; mid price range; comes in a decent number of designs; captures light okay

      Silicone(~$20-$30): rare and not commonly offered by companies; these eyes are good to buy if your doll has oddly sized eyewells and you need to close a huge gap; attracts dust like crazy; may yellow over time

      Urethane(~$25-$120): most expensive type of eye; captures light very well/nice to photograph; gained a lot of popularity in the past few years; easily scratched so you have to be more careful with them

      This is just a quick overview. I hope it helped. :|
      • x 3
    5. When it comes to the way I buy eyes, 9/10 I will look for other owners who have the same sculpt to see what size they are using. If there aren't any to reference, I'll usually just go with what the company lists as a proper size, but sometimes that can be a trial and error. If I don't like how they fit, I'll just sell them and buy a different size. ^^

      Personally, I like urethane and glass eyes. I'm not a fan of acrylic because they aren't the best at catching light or looking glossy. However, they might be your best bet if you want a cheaper eye. Most of my dolls have glass eyes, but I'm just starting to make my own urethanes to replace them. It's definitely a personal preference, though.

      My favorite places to buy eyes are Mako Eyes and Enchanted Doll for urethane. Glass, on the other hand, can be from Ebay or random doll shops. I'd recommend checking around for the type of eye material you prefer first, then finding places that make the style you like. (Eyes vary in detail from maker to maker, so no matter what type you prefer, there will always be variety depending on where you get them.) :)
      • x 1
    6. Thank you @CloakedSchemer @HoushiChan @ShadowedForce You have no idea how helpful you have just been! So much information, but I'm glad to know that even after being in the hobby so long, you all still say trial and error seems to be the way of things. Your info definitely will get me in the right direction for sure.

      ShadowForce-you are making your own eyes?!?! That is so cool. I wouldn't even know where to begin with that. Do you have pictures of your latest creations? You all continue to amaze me in this hobby.
    7. Personally I don't think that buying eyes for your doll has to be trial and error -- and trial and error is of course expensive, so it's best to do whatever you can to avoid that. Usually the eye size listed by the company will work just fine for the doll provided you don't try to use high dome eyes. Sometimes you can use one size smaller or larger in the doll (by preference) but sometimes it will be obvious due to the overall size and interior shape (beveling) of the eye well that one size fits and others don't. Seldom the company has listed the wrong size eye, and other owners will be quick to tell you of the size that actually fits.
      In my experience the kind of eye that fits in well in the fewest dolls is a glass eye because these are the eyes that are most likely to have a really really high dome. Acrylic eyes don't have super high domes, and neither do urethane or soft glass (silicone) in my experience. Only some glass eyes have the really high dome, but if you are trying to avoid wasting your money on poorly fitting eyes I advise you to steer clear of glass eyes of unspecified dome type.
      Personally I use Pabol Glass eyes (oval shape, glass, low dome, flat back) in most of my dolls. (I get them from Mint on Card) Over the years they came to be my preferred eye because they are low dome, under $20, available in simple natural colors, and since they are glass with a printed iris they have a very detailed and lifelike appearance. They have always fit well in all of my dolls.
      I also really love Makoeyes (order directly or from a dealer) for an economical beautiful low dome urethane eye. And I also often use Soom silicone and Eyeco silicone eyes (that I buy from Safrin doll) for dolls that have poorly made eye wells that make it difficult to fit rigid eyes correctly. Soom makes many unnatural colors and Eyeco makes mostly realistic colors.
    8. @Meggethann I just started making a couple of my own. ^^ There are a couple tutorials floating around the internet for them, but it's definitely an experimental thing. Here's one of my floating heads wearing a pair I made. :)

      • x 2
    9. Wow! Those look awesome!
    10. Thanks, CloakedSkeemer, Houshichan, Aliceinvonderland, had no idea as to the properties of these various types of eyes. I only saw that there were different types and styles. I have only recently acquired my first doll, and seeing that she came with randomly chosen eyes, I ordered a different color in the suggested size, to come with her. One of the things that I find appealing about these dolls, was the way you could change the entire appearance of a doll, to the point they would look like completely different models, by changing wigs, eyes and face-ups.

      I have watched the video on uTube of making eyes. It looked very doable by most anyone, with a modicum of materials. The possibilities are endless. Thanks, Meggathann, for bringing the subject to our attention.

      ShadowedForce, really impressive!!
    11. Honestly, I've seen some acrylic eyes that I really like, whereas photos of glass eyes don't always win me over... which I guess is *some* good news for my wallet.

      Vince just kept his default eyes because they were beautiful, and the color I envisioned for him-- he changes his look up with different wigs often enough, but has kept his eyes (he has a spare pair of heart eyes but I just haven't done anything with them). With Pete and Billy... Pete came with perfectly nice eyes that just weren't for him, but I'd bought him a pair of serviceable acrylics just going by the measurements online, and was able to pop his eyes into my floating head. Billy spent quite a while with red eyes that I did not like for him, before I wound up with eyes I liked in him (also acrylic).

      I think right now I have two spare pairs of eyes, both red, in different sizes-- that's not counting the fact that Pete's got red eyes, since his aren't spares. I've got plans for one set, at any rate...

      Unless I have a specific character in mind and the eyes that get sent aren't right, though, I see myself as being generally content with default eyes, at least for as long as it takes me to find the right pair. Having bought OT dolls that don't come with eyes has made me grateful for the fact that my resin boys have always come with them, so I never had to sit about with an eyeless doll.