Topic: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Ok, this is probably going to sound really noobish, (I've been brickfilming for years, I swear! mini/lol ) but I've always had trouble animating a convincing head turn. This may be due to the fact that I don't have any software like Dragonframe that lets you directly see the previous frames you've taken, but this is just one thing that I've never been able to get the hang of. I find that either the hairpiece doesn't line up, or that I've moved the head too much, etc.

Is there any kind of trick to it that I'm not aware of? Like somehow sticking the hair to the head of the minifigure through extra means? Thanks.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Nope, even experienced brickfilmers can still have trouble with this. I do.

I typically grip it by the face, and by the back of the head/hair, and make sure my grip is extra tight. That helps to prevent them moving separately, but even that doesn't always work. If you can, try gripping just the head and turning that. The hair should come along for the ride, and if you didn't bump it, it shouldn't move.

As for securing it better, you could try placing sticky-tac between the hair and the head. But not too much, otherwise the hair will stick up abnormally.

Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

You could glue the hair on or if you don't want to damage your Lego’s, take off the hair, move the head the put the hair back on.

Last edited by Smocktopus (June 20, 2015 (09:59am))

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Here's what I do:

First, place the head on the torso and twist it around both left and right.  Doing this for a bit will begin to loosen up the head and neck.  However, this will not make it too loose, so you shouldn't have to worry about that.  This will make the head more more easy to spin.  I always loosen up a figure's head before I use it in animation.

Secondly, use some sort of sticky substance to stick the head more firmly to the hear or hat.  This is especially essential if the character wears a full helmet which still reveals the face.  I use a substance called a kneedable eraser.  It's usually used for drawing, but it's useful for animation since it never dries out and doesn't leave residue so long as you dab where it's been with a tiny wad.

Finally, you should be able to turn the figure's head quite easily.  However, as a precaution, it would be well and wise to go ahead and try to hold on to the character's face rather than hair just in case  the sticky fails as Pritchard suggested.

Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Thanks for all of the replies, everyone! I'll be sure to keep all of that in mind, especially that kneedable eraser, Squid, that sounds like a really good idea.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

For me, it always works best to push down on the hair or hat and turn that way. Usually, the head moves with it but you have to put something sticky in between the two pieces. It also does not work for every shot because it may move the torso. Even though it has a lot of problems, this method is very handy for doing simple shots very quickly.

Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

If you have a female with flowing hair, it's great to continue making the hair move after the head stops moving (ease out, making the last head movement frames slight), and then allow the head to "snap back" into place.  In THE LEGO MOVIE, Wyldstyle does this several times when Emmet first sees her.  It doens't have to be as dramatic as hers; two or three frames extra should do it.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Some people are horrified at the thought, but I sometimes sand down the torso necks until I can turn the head and hair smoothly as one. Some torsos are old and worn enough that they can do this anyway. Another method is use is pinching the head at the base under the hair and pulling it up while trying to turn slightly, then pushing it back down. This means not having to remove the hair. Also, don't feel bad about having difficulties with head-turning animation; it still annoys me often.

Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

sillypenta wrote:

Some people are horrified at the thought, but I sometimes sand down the torso necks until I can turn the head and hair smoothly as one.

I've done this before and it works like a dream. Really, just sand down the necks a little bit, then check frequently to see if it is smooth to your liking. I highly recommend this approach.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Sonjira wrote:

Really, just sand down the necks a little bit, then check frequently to see if it is smooth to your liking. I highly recommend this approach.

How much is a little?

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

UnknownBrick Films wrote:
Sonjira wrote:

Really, just sand down the necks a little bit, then check frequently to see if it is smooth to your liking. I highly recommend this approach.

How much is a little?

It all depends on how much the head will resist to turn on the torso. Every piece is different.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Well, sanding down the neck didn't really work, but I may not have done it enough. Luckily though I found a trick to line up the minifigure's hairpiece.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

UnknownBrick Films wrote:

I find that... I've moved the head too much, etc.
Thanks.

Sometimes I fiddle with things to entertain myself. Sometimes that "thing" is a minifig. Twisting the minifig's head in circles will loosen up the neck joint which makes it easier and smoother to turn the head whereas a rough joint is hard to twist and when you finally twist it, it jolts and the head turns a bit too much. To me, it may be better than sanding the torso because it would scratch it or make it rougher if you're using the wrong sandpaper. Oil is an alternative, I found out about it when I put my minifig in plasticine (except it is hard to get out of the legs and head and can destroy arm and leg joints if not using it properly).
At time when I don't animate, I pretend to be animating, which might sound absurd but is in someway or another, practicing. How do I do it? I pretend my eyes to be the camera and move the minifigure's joints as if they're on a base plate when they're actually in my hands. It's good for practising poses and controlling the amount of degrees you want to rotate a joint. I wouldn't sit down on a chair an do it on a table but just do it during a television commercial (whilst I'm watching the TV).

Last edited by Kd2000 (June 23, 2015 (02:30am))

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Squid wrote:

First, place the head on the torso and twist it around both left and right.  Doing this for a bit will begin to loosen up the head and neck.  However, this will not make it too loose, so you shouldn't have to worry about that.  This will make the head more more easy to spin.  I always loosen up a figure's head before I use it in animation.

This is my method, as well. As Squid said, this will successfully loosen the head without making it too loose.

I don't ever use sticky tack with hair. I just firmly grip the head and turn it carefully. If the hair slips, I toggle back and forth between frames and "eyeball" where the hair was originally, in relation to the face. This gets easier the more familiar you are with a particular hairpiece or faceprint.

Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

I’ve been having this problem for a long time. I’ve found that drilling the hole under the head with an 11/64” drill bit wallows out the hole to the perfect size. Just enough bite to stay fixed on the torso, but loose enough that it will rotate buy turning the hair/headgear.

Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

Brickman wrote:

I’ve been having this problem for a long time. I’ve found that drilling the hole under the head with an 11/64” drill bit wallows out the hole to the perfect size. Just enough bite to stay fixed on the torso, but loose enough that it will rotate buy turning the hair/headgear.

I heard from someone else that using a tiny bit of sandpaper inside the head does wonders. Seems safer than a drillbit.

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Re: Turning a Minifigure's Head?

rioforce wrote:
Brickman wrote:

I’ve been having this problem for a long time. I’ve found that drilling the hole under the head with an 11/64” drill bit wallows out the hole to the perfect size. Just enough bite to stay fixed on the torso, but loose enough that it will rotate buy turning the hair/headgear.

I heard from someone else that using a tiny bit of sandpaper inside the head does wonders. Seems safer than a drillbit.

Unless you own a drill press it's going to hard to not mess that up. Sandpaper would also give you more find control on how much material you want to remove.