Realistic Eye in Photoshop


Very nice…one comment/suggestion though…I took a picture of my own iris and cleaned it up to remove extraneous whatchamacallits and reflections…and I noticed that the iris seems to be made up of strands instead of bigger shapes and blurs…

I know this may be a bit excessive of course, but I also noticed there’s a lighter ring about midway through the iris…other than those small things the tutorial is spot on…any ideas on how to emulate the strands? maybe a sharper radial blur layer with crystallize over it?


I think this is really helpful, and coincidentally it inadvertantly goes a long way towards answering a Photoshop question I just posted, and I thank you for the insight. :slight_smile:
But, I have to disagree with the idea of adding the reflection/highlight to the texture itself, if this is to be used in a 3D program which has it’sown tools for specularity and reflection.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

EvilArcana, you’re right, some eyes do have a lighter ring in the middle, but far from all eyes. Most eyes have some variance in colour, some have different colour next to the pupil or different coloured patches or spots.

These changes in colour can easily be achieved by making several different layers of the iris and by using layer masks, mask out areas in the iris and change the colour, with one of the colour adjustment layers.

If you want to show the eye close-up or very hi-res, then I think actually painting in strands in the eye could be a good idea. And to do that on one or two layers. An alternative is naturally to use a photo.

You have to consider how realistic the eye actually have to be, how much detail will be seen. And how much or little time you can spend time working on it.

You can definately try the “crystallize” method and see how that would work out. I don’t have the opportunity to try it out myself at the moment.

SockMonkey, glad I could be of help! Adding the reflection to the texture is optional. It really depends on what you are using it for.


Well, I definitely liked your methods…they’re very hands on as opposed to a frenzy of filters…Good job on that! :wink: I am now goign to go on a photo reference binge and start snapping pics of peoples eyeballs.


Thank you! :slight_smile: For making textures I’m all for using some filters mixed with handpainted layers, as long as it’s used carefully. A texture is not a painting and often you have to work quite quick.

The photo you had taken of your eye and edited looked very good! Thanks for posting it! Good luck on your eye photography!


I haven’t updated my female model WIP thread in a long time because I haven’t workd on it much lately…but I’m back on it, and I’m at the head now…the hard part :frowning: So eyes will be taken into consideration very soon…thats why I looked at this tute.

Glad ya like dmy eye photo…maybe it’ll be useful to someone as a starting point.


nice info man thank


Thanx for the awesome tutorial!

…md :slight_smile:



Thank you very much for the tutorial mang!


It’s not a bad tutorial, there are a ton of ways to do the iris/pupils, but the big thing here is that the ‘white’ area of the eye is not pure white, which is very important. I’ve seen it done all too often that the area around the iris is pure white, and it makes a realistic character lose its realism. It’s a small detail that is huge in the final result.

p.s. the iris is concave and if the light is coming from top right, the iris would be brighter on the lower left(opposite the light source).

Keep it up!


Migsta, thank you for your comments. There certainly are many ways to make an iris, and I have seen better looking irises than the one I made. But it’s relatively easy to make and quick. I hope the result is relatively OK, depending on what you’re aiming for.

And you’re absolutely right about the “white” in the eye not actually being pure white. I think closest to the iris it’s slightly blueish and then it moves to a yellowish colour until it gets more pink/orange/red.

You’re also right about the placement of the brightness in the iris, but it’s not something that I would really paint into the eye, allthough I think I did make the top of the iris slightly darker, because most of the time the light is coming from somewhere above. But ideally the iris really should have the same brightness all over in the texture. But if you want a certain effect or making still images, than you can emphasize the brightness in the iris, by adding some brightness.

Also the specularity, is not something that would be added in textures of today.


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