View Full Version : "3dsMax and Maya"-Like Eyes

03 March 2005, 04:43 PM
hi everyone

i'm fighting with eye texturing for ages now.

i don't know if you know what i mean with "3dsMax"-Eyes, but i'll rty to explain:
almost any great character rendering i've seen made with 3dsmax or Maya does have those eyes that look so lively and deep like real eyes. the only one who i've ever seen making those eyes in c4d is pupii, as you can see in his character renderings, for example in the pictures shown below.

you can see it very good in the rendering of Earl Bird, the eyes look like they have real depth and as if they were alife. i see those eyes fairly often in 3dsmax character renderings, so sometimes i ask myself is it easier there because of the avaible renderers?

i'm still trying and i'm getting better, but i would love to hear suggestions from you about how you would approach this.

03 March 2005, 04:59 PM
renderings, so sometimes i ask myself is it easier there because of the avaible renderers?

No it's easier there because of the available artists. How are you modeling your eyes, do they consist of two parts? Do they have a proper reflection? Do they have the proper specularity? Index of refraction? The position of the light(s) is also very important, it's a sum of many things really.

03 March 2005, 05:03 PM
two major things:

good reflection enviroment
dont use specular-channel, use white objects with lumiance to get the highlights(reflecting).


03 March 2005, 05:13 PM
good point thirdeye...more users, more good results.

so far i modelled the eye after an anatomical book, the lens is a single object and the eyeball itself another, where the colored part of the eye goes somewhat inside.

the IOR is 1.2, and i turned the highlights off for almost any material some months ago and use white reflections instead, like llab pointed out.

the two main problems are, i think, a not so good eye texture, but mainly about this deep look, like if the lense is filled with fluid like it is in a real eye, which can be a problem with my texturing and/or the lighting. mainly i go after those "final fantasy" eyes, not so much like the movie but more like the newer games (Final Fantasy X).

thanks for your suggestions so far!

thirdeye, the skin of your last emperor ist simply one of the best i've ever seen, honestly.
and to llab: your architectural renderings are top-notch! just wanted to point that out hehe.

03 March 2005, 05:25 PM
The Hollywood way to light eye is to use eyelight. That's a small dedolight mounted above/below/next to camera and it points to characters eyes. It is even used in daylight scenes since eye is highly reflective as it is.

I havent tried it myself, but someone suggested me to toss white object just behind and sligthly above the camera to give proper depth and glow to eye. Or visible light, if you're not into GI.


03 March 2005, 05:53 PM
just a point about those two renderings, they're both c4d, not max/maya.

texturing is your friend here. make a good iris texture, the whites are not pure white, there is a seperate layer on top of the eyes and they are wet, so give yourself good reflections/speculars. making good eyes is not easy in any app.

03 March 2005, 06:01 PM
dont use specular-channel, use white objects with lumiance to get the highlights(reflecting).

sorry but that way the specular of the internal sphere will never look convincing, it has to be wide and soft, that technique is ok for the external part tho, the sharpest.

03 March 2005, 08:37 PM

I gather from the 2 pics you posted that you are not particularly interested in the whites of the eyes but specifically in the iris/pupil area.

I wouldn't considder myself the expert but what works really good for me is to add physical depth to the pupil and a concave shape to the iris. Then add an ever so subtle refraction to the lense which, by the way, should bubble out in a different way than the eye-ball itself (as is the case with a real eye).

I know this pic is kind of small, conceling the detail in the iris, but if this is the kind of depth you're after, I'd be happy to put up a C4D file with the eyeball. I won't be able to include the texture itself as I don't want it floating around out there but I will put the lense material on it for you.

03 March 2005, 09:11 PM
Heh speculars in c4d are great for eyes, you can very easily get them as sharp as you want - not exactly easy thing to do in some other apps.

You could, on the texture, try to darken upper part of the iris (use some gradient) - this is a fake way of adding some 'depth' to the eyes, and it requires nice strong specular (or bright reflection). Works best for stills, tho - in animation it may work, but the fake nature may became noticeable.

03 March 2005, 01:50 PM
i use 3 different eye my 3 character.
lady: simple sphere with color gradient material
earl: 2 parts geometry (eyeball and lens) with color gradient material
colonel: 2 parts geometry (eyeball with lens and iris) with painted iris and gradient eyeball material

and i agree with Illab:
two major things:
good reflection enviroment
dont use specular-channel, use white objects with lumiance to get the highlights(reflecting).

03 March 2005, 04:58 PM
"llab: your architectural renderings are top-notch! just wanted to point that out hehe."
thanks, but where have you seen???

most things are not public in internet.
cant remember i posted something here..hmm?

lllab ( thats 3L's ! )

03 March 2005, 09:39 PM
to get a good deep eye you need at least two objects, one for the Iris texture and specular, and one for the lens highlight

04 April 2005, 01:44 AM
Two objects is the way to go.


04 April 2005, 10:20 AM
my base eye structure

04 April 2005, 12:28 PM
great thread!


04 April 2005, 12:48 PM
Thanks Kuui for starting this thread and getting the big dogs to throw in their $.2 I've learned a lot here!

04 April 2005, 04:57 PM

I've found that surrounding the entire eyeball with a thin film can add dramatically to your rendering time. Here's the eyeball I promised.

04 April 2005, 01:53 PM
back here after i havent had internet access for several weeks!

first, thank you all alot for the help, i myself to found out that those gradient does add a lot of realism as well as the right specular

@lllab: weren't you on the frontpage with your architectural r4enderings?

oh oops that was the user named STRAT. my fault! but thank you for your help (i wrote it with 3 l's now :) )

@mdme_sadie: yeah i know that this is c4d, as i know that this is pupii's work. i wrote in my post that these are the best examples i've ever seen in c4d.

@pupii: thank you alot, for sharing some knowledges, so that we can learn from the best! (as you are one of them). that gradient idea seems to be the most effective trick to do it, first i used a special shadow just for the eyes to get those deepth, combined with real geometrcial depth of the eye. that gradient adds the last bit to realism.

also thanks alot to all the others like cartesius, thirdeye etc.

ok here a list of all the tips, packed together:

- two objects necessary: lens and eyeball
- depth by geometry
- color gradient in the eye for faking depth
- eye shadow for additonal depth
- using the right environment for reflection and highlights. specular channel can be used but does not work as well as special reflections by far.

04 April 2005, 09:22 PM
- depth by geometry

or if you don't wanna mess with mesh and don't tneed the physical shape of an eyeball a negative bump of a gradient set to at least -200 works well. nice thing about this is you can change the depth easily from scene to scene to rather then fideling with lights so much just to get an eye to look deep too. I have a slider that changes between -200 and -600 tha ti find works best,my eyes are two speheres with no actual changes to the geometry (mean I can take advantage of the spheres render perfect option too) the second eye is transparent, but also has an alph to restrict the eye only to the part covering the iris (where the lens is) the rest of the specular around the eye is handled by the white eye material. The iris has a much wider specular for a softer look and because of its deep bump it always shows up on the opposite side fromthe lens highlight. you also have self shadowing which typically looks nicer then the cast shadow from modeled eyes.

not saying modeled is wrong or a bad way to go, but unless i need the actual shape of a real eye, two the shader approash typically has less geometry and looks better.

there are a lot more pros and cons to each such as how they look in a profile and what your needs might be in your scene.

04 April 2005, 01:42 AM

Will you post an eyeball for us?

edit- changed typo "ost" to "post"

04 April 2005, 09:47 AM
here you are

04 April 2005, 10:17 AM
... very kind of you. I wish you will find the time to write a tutorial (maybe a videotut) of your way of work. ...cause your work is brilliant!!!

04 April 2005, 12:10 PM
this is very nice of you pupii!!!

it is always one thing looking at screenshots/explanantions of something and ripping the file apart with your own fingers/mouseclicks.

thanks a lot


04 April 2005, 01:13 PM
Much appreciated, pupii!


04 April 2005, 01:17 PM
Wow, sweet!

It helps to look at the work of the great masters.

Thanks! :love:

04 April 2005, 06:11 PM
..and it's an excellent eye to Pupii. Thanks m8

04 April 2005, 08:56 PM
thankyou very much pupi- I've always admired your work.really interesting to see how you do it.

04 April 2005, 09:52 PM
Thanks Pupii, really beautiful!

04 April 2005, 01:22 PM
thank you very much pupii! you're the man!

04 April 2005, 07:23 AM
my pleasure.
but the geometrry just 1 part, the good shader/texure ewerybody own work ;)

04 April 2005, 06:29 AM
yes i'm experimenting with putting different maps (i cutted out aki's eye from a huge final fantasy wallpaper for example and i'm taking pictures of people's eyes to map them on).

another useful thing is when doing the post processing stuff, you can use dodge and burn tools to darken the upper part of the eye and adding highlights in post which can highly increase eye depth and you can differ the amount of wetness/specularity very easily!

12 December 2005, 08:51 AM
I found this thread really interesting and helpful- here's an eye I just made- feel free to use or modify, if you like it.(there's a flat iris in the file, if you prefer to the rounded one)
cheers, shakes (

12 December 2005, 09:39 AM
Thanks John!

(Like the new avatar :))


12 December 2005, 01:57 PM
Wow, thanks for the eyes.

12 December 2005, 02:56 PM
Wow, these are some GREAT eye's!

Thanks a bunch for the files!

12 December 2005, 05:42 PM
I did one a while ago with an animatable pupil (posemixer) and comic eyelids,
the eyeball itself looks more realistic though.
You can get it here:[188]Auge2.gifAuge2.gif"] ("[188)

01 January 2006, 06:42 AM
Did these recently. They even produce red-eye from flashes.

04 April 2006, 12:56 AM
Already posted this in my other thread, but thought it would be good to add in this one.

this is an alien eye I've made for the CG Society Journey Challenge. here's the eye for
download, feel free to use or 4MB- (

and here's the basic material setup
cheers, shakes (

04 April 2006, 02:46 AM
what a great great to see how everyone share!...

do you guys assign lights that will only affect the cornea? it does not iluminate the rest?

and how about reflection....and also refraction on the corneas so the irirs is visible from the side...

how do you do all this in c4d?

hey John...your characters has wonderful eyes...

how do you make visible the iris and pupil from the side? maya you apply refraction to the cornea...

i see that you use an image for reflection on the you apply this image to the cornea...or do you apply it to a dome?


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