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In several shows, there are characters who gain solid black eyes, usually to indicate that they have turned on sort of superhuman or supernatural ability. For instance, Alexander Lyta in Babylon 5

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Ruby in Supernatural

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And Bizarro Supergirl in Supergirl

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(Strangely, this effect seems to be used quite frequently with long-haired women).

How is this effect achieved? My first thought is contacts, but all the contacts I've ever seen aren't big enough to completely cover the eye. Also, wouldn't solid black contact lenses obstruct vision?

  • It's done for the Shark in "Finding Nemo" too, after smelling Dory's blood ;) – Dawny33 Jun 26 '16 at 9:04
  • movies.stackexchange.com/q/52470/16420 dupe-ish. – Catija Jun 26 '16 at 13:13
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    @Cajita The answers are similar, but the questions are quite different. I always thought that dupes are for the same question, not the same answer. – Thunderforge Jun 26 '16 at 14:19
  • Which is why I said dupe-ish and didn't vote to close... Honestly, if you think about it, with that reasoning we could have twenty different questions with the same exact answer all with different eye looks... this one's black, that one's bloodshot... next is what? Flames? red? Cat-eye? – Catija Jun 26 '16 at 14:25
  • The word is related, not dupe. – cde Jun 27 '16 at 1:47
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Contact Lenses

These are "Sclera" lenses...they are much larger than 'normal' contacts which usually only cover the iris (colored part) of the eye.

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A quick google search found many examples including this demo of them being inserted. Some interesting information here.

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Note that the center of the lens is clear and does not impede vision. The pupil is black anyway so the illusion is maintained especially in slightly darker environments..or perhaps shaded by long hair. :)

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    I wasn't sure if it was contact lenses or not because most contact lenses are too small for this effect. Thanks for clarifying not only the size of these lenses, but also why they don't obstruct vision. – Thunderforge Jun 26 '16 at 14:15
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    For supernatural and other newer series it could also be cgi, at least i found this tutorial how to do it in cgi youtube.com/watch?v=T9GljlXGaHE Also If I remember correctly there are some scenes where the eyes turn from normal to black in one shoot, which would be easier to do in cgi. Nevertheless your answer is correct for many other series and movies – kl78 Jun 26 '16 at 15:36
  • @kl78 a few thousand dollars and man hours of cgi, or 5 minutes of the actor putting in contacts? Yea, doubt it. – cde Jun 27 '16 at 1:48
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    CGI could be used to show a transition of normal eyes to black but it would be prohibitively expensive to use CGI to maintain the effect over many shots and angles. – Paulie_D Jun 27 '16 at 5:15

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