Making eye textures, how much detail?


Some of you probably seen those amazing photos of the human eye recently. After seeing them I decided to try and make my own eye textures. I’m fairly OK with Photoshop but my problem is how much detail should I add? I spent a couple of hours painting the colour strands and underlying cloudy layers, but I wonder if I really need all that for eyes. Am I making loadsa work that may not be needed?
How fussy do you guys go with eye details?


Whoops I forgot to add images.

Exported ZBrush test image;

Layers image; Colour strand layers, cloudy layers, pupil, colour and black backgrounds with some added noise;

I can control opacity, colour etc. of all the layers. But I’m just wondering if I need all that or am I putting too much into what is a small part of say a character standing up in a scene.


It depends on how large the eye will appear on screen. If you’re not doing any eye close ups, 1-2k is prolly enough.

Your eyes are looking weird tho in my opinion. You should look up some reference


Thanks. I used this one as reference;

And this one;

There are just countless different eyes to choose from, I never knew they were so different until I started this.


As you are discovering, eye textures are hard work and no two are the same. I think you are on the right track. It’s time consuming to do it like that, but it can’t do any harm to have a high-res layered template and work from that in future. Reducing the saturation could benefit your work. Eye textures can be 512 and up depending on the end purpose.

I’d like to see some more samples of the PSD or jpegs if you don’t mind uploading some.


Well OK heres some jpegs at 800 pixels…

I dropshadowed the top strands layer to get an appearance of depth looking at the lower layers. Also I moved a lower “star” shaped layer up to get a different look to those in my last post.


Quick ZBrush render…


That’s nice Photoshop work for someone still at school, well done.

I think you have enough in the way of details in there. Don’t get too hung up painting in too much more. You won’t need huge textures for eyes unless you are making movies or getting in really close, 1024 should be good enough. You could even add some blur to the “strands” to blend them in more.
Whatever way you decide to tweak them, you should keep the original PSD file as it will come in very useful for making eyes later on. Most of us use make do with stock image files because we don’t have the time to make detailed ones ourselves. Having your own template is a smart move IMHO.


That’s a good point. Last night I was showing the ones I made so far to a few college friends who are studying Maya, Max and ZBrush. I call over to their apartment every Tuesday evening to pick up some tips and generally pick their brains. In return they ask me questions about Photoshop, which seems to be something they leave on the backburner in college.
They got very interested in the eyes idea and suggested ways to improve it. One of them asked me to knock out some variations on blue for him to use in a college project. Or it could be a thesis, I wasn’t paying much attention as there was poteen available and that stuff just fries brains with a single swig. I only ever had poteen once before and couldn’t turn down the offer this time. Good stuff it was too, home-made and not the watered down piss they sell to tourists. I couldn’t move my arms or legs for nearly an hour after a small glass. They had to give me a lift home and I don’t even remember how I got into bed. My Dad probably carried me, if so I’ll hear all about it later.

But I’m getting away from the point. Which is that the interest shown by my friends will give me some drive to make eye textures/references, even if I don’t need them myself.


Here’s one I made after the paralysis wore off.


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