Lighting Challenge #7: An Eye for an Eye


An easy way is to use a plane grid in front of the area-light source with transparency, opaque around the edges and gradually transparent towards the center,that will make your source smaller so make it bigger(biger area-light source).
This grid opaque edges will obviously hide the environment behind it so here is a better and faster way:

   -Use just a glossy/blurry refraction shader on this grid in front of the light source,it will just make the light source smoother blured ( have this grid to NOT cast shadows).
   NOTE--After some tests (XSI+MentalRay3.4) I found that this grid's glossy/blury refraction shader exibits a wierd result, I couldnt get the Blured refraction show on my objects reflections (!) although when you look at the light source , through this grid, the area light source looks blured(!).
    I ONLY got the  [b]correct[/b] blured refraction result show up 'blured' on the objects reflection,  when I use the L-Glass shader (a must..exists for both xsi and maya) on the grid.
   It didnt work with other simple glossy/blury refractive shaders like Phong etc..(!)
 (Of course in all tests I have high ray depth value in the Render Globals Tab so its not that that is causing the problem)
   With L-Glass you get a parameter under the 'Glossy' tab called (ray) 'depth'  .That  needs to be set to:  value = 2 to get the right results .
  Only then we get correct results!!!
   (Both red balls are reflective with sharp-crisp specular-reflections)

-This is generally a very serious problem , it means that if we use for exmple an area light as a sunlight and we have say…blurry/glossy refractive windows in an indoor scene , we cant render the blured refraction on reflective objects…the reflection wil look as if we havent used glossy/blurry refractions for the windows.(…With L-Glass it works correctly though)

 If someone can pop in and explain to us why this happens..I personally think that its due to all basic shaders (at least the ones in XSI) have a limitation for the glossy refractions 'ray depth'. 

(I will also post this in the Lighting & rendering forums and I 've posted it in XSIBASE too,in case it is an XSI specific ‘problem’.)



Bumped changed. added two rim lights. added glow in photoshop (thanks Mer for the tips).
Changed a bit eyelashes (material is an SSS) changed a bit value of reflection of cornea. Increased the dimension of the Iris. Left the Blade runner reflection… I love it :smiley:
Comments wellcome


Amazing! That’s terrific work! Congratulations!



jojo1975 - It might be interesting to see that image reflected on more of the eye. Maybe you could work on the connection between the tearduct and the white of the eye, either make the eye white less black where it connects with the tearduct or put the tearduct into the same shadow area? The black edges of the eyelid around the tearduct also tend to outline the tearduct and make it look less organically connected, maybe all of that needs some fill light and shadows or occlusion?



@jojo … Nice job on the skin buddy… are u using raytracing ? im asking cuz taht gave me know that witheness in the eye and i couldn fix it… why dont u try using like a reflection map attach to reflected color maybe…


I didn’t use raytracing materials, I will also try to add a reflection map.
Thanks Jeremy for the suggestion… I also noticed the problems about the tearduct it’s a bit darK. I tried to fill it with a small rim omni light but I didn’t notice a lot of difference…any hint how to make the edge of the skin and eyelid a bit more white ? It would be very appreciated. :slight_smile:


Since people were posting fantasy eyes, I couldn’t resist the temptation to do HAL’s eye :slight_smile:

(here’s a link to the non-photoshopped render for those interested)


Nice entry Thykka,
Perhaps you could use a more ‘industrial’ image for the eye reflection, the current one is very organic but still it makes an interesting ‘contrast’.The eyelashes could look more chrome like so the material matches the robotic look.
Keep it up!



This is my first attempt at this lighting challenge (and is actually my first post in general). I used the provided lights, but added depth map shadows. The skin is a simple blinn shader, with a slight surface glow to soften the texture. Some Photoshop touch-ups were used to blur the edges of the render, again to make the overall look softer.

Comments welcome.

Also, feel free to check out my other work at


@ quasiagent Very goos start. I would have make a more sharp focus on the iris and less bump on the skin also the sclera less grey. Overall a cool image :slight_smile:
here’s my last. Added highlit and reflection on the pupil, make the eyelashes less dark, changed the eyelash material, decrease bump, desaturate images, adjusted light intesity ,added a rim light. Overall quite satisfied and also no more time to work on the image :slight_smile: Thanks to all suggestion for the image improvement. Also i reread the chapter about lightgin eye in Jeremy book that was really helpful.
it seemed easy but it was a tricky challenge :wink:



These are some nice entries getting added!



I put the gallery page up for this challenge:

As always, please PM me if there are any corrections to your names or anything.




Man guess Iam a little late on my entry! But I guess I can still post it up here :slight_smile:


Jeremy thanks for putting the gallery … i think i kinda overdid my eye on those latest attemps so … i was hoping to finish after the Eon challenge but i guess is kinda late for that so would you please upload instead the picture i upload on page 10 please ?? sorry to bother but as i say i think overdid my eye… it was kinda rush and i was hoping to get back to it…

oh i forgot i got bmp with greater quality of the same image il will upload right away …

thanks for all the help…


migusan76 - Not too late, you made it into the gallery!

Leotril - Updated. (But what was wrong with the red spotlight again?)



I think it was an issue with the cone angle or light fog :wise: …

how about the old challenges marathon is there gonna be any ???.i would like another shot at the eye :slight_smile:



:slight_smile: jeremy that is awesome Thx’s…


Very nice migusan76!!

I love the skin, it looks very nice and the sss is just as it should.

Can you please explain the sss setup and the lighting/rendering set-up?Software and shaders used?

One ctitic , the Ambient oclution around the sclera where it meets with the skin/eyelid, it looks a bit too much and it also darkens the sss a little more than it should.The iris border needs some more bluring in the transition with the sclera.The iris map is really nice but I think it should be more sharp.Itlooks kinda like a photo mapped while it should look more 3dimentional with more depth and perhaps displacement.

The veins are nice in terms of rez of the texture but I think there shouldnt be so many aspecially around the iris , the tend to be more around the left and the right side od the sclera near the border of the eyelid.

Keep up the good work!Keep us updated:)



Hey mer, I really like your entry!

As for the software I used maya/mentalray for set-up and rendering. Also used zbrush to tweak the base mesh and create or tweak textures for the objects. For the sss setup and shaders Iam using custom shaders I programmed for mental ray. Mainly since the scene was covered with SSS objects I used my custom skin shader that has a bssrdf diffusion term that calculates the different wavelengths in the object, combined with diffuse/subsurface terms depending on the map that I paint for it. Overall I used 10 textures on the face skin, and about 4 for the eyeball. Both used the same skin shader to get the overall look. I agree with your critic’s the occlusion turned out to be a little darker than I had anticpated but by the time rendering was done it was to late for me or should I say the deadline I set for myself was in, There are tons of things I would different If I had to this all over again.


This is an old challenge now, this thread is archived. If you scroll down to the Challenge #7 section of the downloads page, you’ll see that the models can still be downloaded for your tests, and also that a gallery has been made of top entries. Feel free to browse this thread to see what others have posted, even though you can no longer post here. -jeremy