Eye ball wetness

I don’t know if this question should be in here or in modeling but here it goes. I have just finished the basis of my first eye. I want some suggestions on how to improve the wetness and shine. I’ve played around with light settings and shadows, etc. Should each individual piece of the eye be on different layers and lighted individually, or as a whole? Any other suggestions about lighting or anything would be greatly appreciated. The render and parts that make up my eye are below.


main thing is to crank up ( in materials ) the reflection slider, the spec slider, and the hardness slider.

One thing I did, if you don’t mind using extra polygons, was create a new slightly larger sphere to encompass the whole eye setup, which simulates a layer of tears. This sphere should be mostly transparent and could have reflections and high specularity and hardness.

Well I tried all of your suggestions. Bumping up the reflection, spec and hardness sliders and also enabling shadow for the iris helped make it look more real and less exaggerated color. racheltwu’s suggestion helped the cornea shine (a little glassy looking but better than it was). I did notice that placing the eye on a neutral background made it easier to see the changes I was making. The white eyeball though is stil sort of flat looking no matter what changes I made. I’ll have to just keep playing with that.


It’ll look better still when it’s inside an eye socket with an eyelid. You’ll notice that subsurf gave your eye ball a slight olive shape. You might want to scale it back along the long axis into a sphere again, or you’ll get poke through when you turn the eyes when they are in a head.

Also, I generally have one spec-only spot light set up on the eye layer so I can adjust where those highlights fall and how bright they are. When the eye is inside a socket with overhanging brows and hair, sometimes the shadows make the eye look dead otherwise.

You could also duplicate the sphere, scale it up a little bit and put a material with ray transp. on it.

Cool thanks for the extra advice guys. Damn I didn’t even notice that the eyeball had become olive shaped. I definately have a lot to learn when it comes to looking at perspective. From the angle of my render I couldn’t even notice it, but from a side view it was plain.

Hmmm…the ray trans isn’t really working. In the preview it shows transparent but in render it doesn’t. I did go to the renders panel and enable ray tracing. Also, as you see by the arrows the outer skin I created that is supposed to be transparent has creases. I scaled it up a bit more but there still there and I have enabled smooth and have the sub surf to render up to 4. I also removed doubles and recalculated normals just to be sure that a face didn’t flip on me. The thing is I think the creases are part of the trasnparency, it is like Blender is trying to keep that outer skin opaque and transparent at the same time so it’s solid and casting reflections. The last arrow pointing off towards the border shows a white reflection, though it’s not very visible in the screen shot. I think that white reflection is a reflection off the transparency. I have attached a screen shot of the ray trans settings, maybe I have something set wrong or something isn’t enabled?


It looks like both the inner sphere and the outer sphere are both transparent. I think the “creases” are specularity on the inner sphere from light coming through the outer sphere. Make the inner sphere a separate object (select and P>>separate selected) and give it the white color with the veins again.

Also, you probably don’t need set your ray trans depth to 5. 2 or 3 should do it. More depth increases render time.

I find that SSS can make eyes look much better, as long as you don’t go overkill on it. Go with the previous suggestions as well.

Also, you could try adding a reflection map and set it to “add”. Try using HDR or something like that with some real hot spots.

[quote=Orinoco;997292]It looks like both the inner sphere and the outer sphere are both transparent.
The inner eye ball (white veiny part) wasn’t transparent, what it was is I forgot to to click “Traceable” under it’s Links and Pipeline tab so it was being ignored by the outer transparent sphere.
I’m getting closer though.


Double-post due to some weird 30-sec timeout I’ve never encountered here before – sorry :rolleyes:

This is a two-piece eye I made for my latest project – just finished it tonight, in fact.

The eyeball and iris/pupil are one mesh, and the cornea a second, parented to the eyeball for animation. Each eyeball has a separate mini-armature to control the iris/pupil diameter (notice how it changes in each pic) that’s parented by the skull bone of the overall figure armature, and both are controlled by a single separate mesh object using a Copy Scale constraint.

Glossiness on the eyeball is a Blinn Specular shader (Lambert diffuse, btw) with high Specular, Hardness and Refraction Index values. There’s three textures used, one for diffuse, one for bump (eyeballs are not perfectly smooth, including the iris), and one to totally mask specularity on the iris portion (it’s not glossy). The deep green is a bit oversaturated but that’s intentional, part of the character (which is still a WIP, obviously)

The cornea Material is also Lambert/Blinn (which gives good control over the highlights), and uses Ray Mirror with high Fresnel values to keep the reflections to the edges, and Ray Transparency, IOR set to 1.05 – anything more led to too-great a distortion, though the actual IOR of the aqueous humor under the cornea is likely close to that of water (about 1.33).

I also have an eye-tracking rig in place to simplify eye placement.

I could package this setup in a .blend apart from the rest of the figure & rig if anyone’s interested in dissecting it.

Wow that’s great chipmasque!! I love the the ability to dialate the pupil, great work.

I haven’t figured out how to join meshes together without each individual part taking on the color/texture/etc of the other joined parts but I see that there are definite advantages, especially when animating.

Being a noob I have been going through tutorials (the eyeball one being on wiki trying to create the Pixar eye), and just trying to learn all the Blender basics before starting anything really serious and then be disappointed because I didn’t take time to learn the nuances first (and also learn from others experiences).

chipmasque - I could package this setup in a .blend apart from the rest of the figure & rig if anyone’s interested in dissecting it

That would be awsome if you could allow us to see the blend file. Thanks :evilgrin:

Getcher red-hot Eyeballs.blend file here


One note:
In order to keep the file size down, I downsampled the three packed textures from 512x512 to 128 x 128, so the quality is somewhat lower than in the original, but you’re better off making your own textures anyway. You can still see how they were painted and applied.

BTW, you may notice a small script in the Text Editor – it’s for copying vertex weights from one Vertex Group to another, even between different objects. Feel free to use it if you can figure out how. I haven’t written more than the barest bones so far, and it’s really not yet ready for prime time (but it does work).

Loved the way you rigged the pupils to dialate.

You said that the the eyeball/iris/pupil are one mesh? So you created each individual piece seperately, assigned their respective textures/colors and then joined them together correct? How does the rigging work for the pupil if it is now joined to the rest of the eyeball? I could see where the rig attached, and I am assuming that it scales the pupil or does it pull back on it giving a false sense dialation because of persepctive?


The eyeball is just a basic UVSphere, was always one piece, not two joined together. The sclera (“whites” of the eyeball ), iris and pupil are all part of the single painted diffuse texture (see the Material components), applied with a flat (planar) projection (ORCO, flat, x-z-y) along the “polar” axis of the sphere. This stretches the “veins” out so they look nice and thin, btw, an intentional use of texture distortion.

I flattened the “pole” of the sphere where the iris image was projected, using texture editing & scaling and edgeloop editing to make sure the perimeter of the flattened area and the iris part of the texture image matched. The iris-area vertices make up the only vertex group, which is scaled by the Iris bone of the mini-armature, in turn controlled by the Copy Scale constraint so you can just scale the controller to scale both eyes’ irises. Positioning of this armature is critical btw – play with it to figure out why :spin:

Nice 'balls chipmasque. Wait, that didn’t sound right. . . :slight_smile:

Thanks chipmasque I learned quite a bit from that blend file. I’'l still have to work on the rigging but the eye I am pleased with especially now that I know about layering textures, it made the veins really pop out…