This happens quite often in the first Toy Story film, not so much in the second (and haven't seen the third yet) where the toys blink one eye after the other instead of at the same time.

Is there any particular reason for this either in-universe or out?


  • 25
    Thanks for ruining the movie for me. Now Ill never be able to watch it in peace again. +1. Aug 31, 2016 at 16:36
  • Sawwie @DavidGrinberg :(
    – user35594
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:52
  • 4
    Why are the voices "not right" in the video, or is it just me?
    – LarsTech
    Aug 31, 2016 at 18:52
  • 1
    It was hard watching the video, because in order to view their blinking, I had to suppress my own :)
    – Pysis
    Aug 31, 2016 at 20:38
  • 1
    @LarsTech the speed of the video is modified, probably to keep Disney copyright-enforcement bots from finding it.
    – hobbs
    Sep 2, 2016 at 5:33

4 Answers 4


A theory:

Most of the characters in Toy Story blink their eyes one at a time. This is called "offset blinking" and is usually used in animation to signal an out of place or stupid character. In Toy Story, it's likely used to remind the audience the toys are still toys. Pixar has continued using the offset blink in other films.

  • Thanks for your answer, will have to watch other Pixar movies to see if this is the case!
    – user35594
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:10
  • 10
    Did Pixar use offset blinks only with non-human characters? It would be strange to remind the audience the toys are still toys with the humans in Up or The Incredibles. Aug 31, 2016 at 16:39
  • 1
    @A.L - you got me thinking, in The Incredibles I wonder if you can see Dash ever blink...
    – BruceWayne
    Aug 31, 2016 at 18:07
  • 3
    @BruceWayne Dash blinks several times in the first seconds here Aug 31, 2016 at 18:49
  • 1
    Do we have confirmation on this? I don't think this is the real reason Pixar decided to use this technique. Sep 1, 2016 at 0:27

I've seen blinking toys in my childhood - they'll open their eyes when standing and close their eyelids when lying down. I think it was possible to make them blink on one eye if you tilt them. So it might just reflect mechanical toys' behavior.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. Yeah, those toys scared the crap out of me!
    – user35594
    Aug 31, 2016 at 10:13
  • 4
    This is what I thought of when I watched the video. Toys back then that had blinking eyes worked independently (not that they're different now) . The effect in the video looks exactly like how the eyes worked in real life. Aug 31, 2016 at 15:13

Because it's not human.

As computer animation evolved, we noticed a trend. When things are "too human" our brains reject them. They instantly flag it as "not real". When things are cartoony or rough estimations of objects we have no problem anthropomorphizing.

Take a look at this shot from Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Shot

Even though it was damn near top of the line CG for it's time something still felt off. It was hard to relate to, it was hard to empathize with.

But Cloud from FF7

FF7 Cloud

Was easy to relate to, even now when his polygon count is silly.

I have seen this effect called "Uncanny Valley" and is simply put, the more human like an artificial thing looks, the more it freaks us out. You can read a bit about it here

So by adding in some offset blinking, and a few other small "irks" that stand out to our brains but not really to our conciseness, the charters are more easily related to and less "spooky".

  • 6
    The failure of the Final Fantasy movie had nothing to do with the Uncanny Valley effect, and everything to do with the fact that it 1) betrayed audience expectations because it didn't feel anything like a Final Fantasy story, and 2) was a really sucky movie, completely independent of 1). Sep 1, 2016 at 15:18
  • Right, no arguments there, but watching the movie, you never really relate to the people in it. They always feel "off" or unnatural.
    – coteyr
    Sep 1, 2016 at 15:20
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    It's been a long time since I saw it (when it was in theaters, and never after that,) but I really don't remember that. What I remember is that it was hard to relate to a lot of them because their actions and motivations felt unnatural--particularly the villain (the guy who looked like Seifer's twin brother)--who ended up feeling more like a maniacal cartoon villain than anything that belonged in the kind of serious story they were obviously trying very hard to tell. Cloud, on the other hand, he and his compatriots always looked really wrong to me. :P Sep 1, 2016 at 15:24
  • 5
    But the toys in Toy Story are never in danger of the Uncanny Valley effect, since they're, you know, toys.
    – BCdotWEB
    Sep 1, 2016 at 17:30
  • By "charters" in that last sentence, do you mean "characters"?
    – Glen_b
    Sep 1, 2016 at 23:13

It is NOT to signify the toys are still "toys" as suggested, because Andy does it when he enters the room looking for Buzz to take to Pizza Planet. More likely, the animators thought it would be a unique characteristic to their film, then realized sometime before Toy Story 2, that it was ridiculous and annoying and never did it again.

  • They still have it in Toy Story 2, fwiw, watching it now and it’s driving me crazy. Dec 21, 2019 at 21:33

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