Realistic Eye Modeling for 3D Characters

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Oct 23, 2005

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Maya Versions:

1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.x


irix, linux, mac, windows




I'm posting a very simple tutorial on how to model and apply shaders to get realistic eyes, the "windows of your character's soul". A lot of times, bad eyes can "kill" your character literally, even if it has the most perfect modeling of the world. The importance of the eyes is exactly this: give life to your character. Therefore, don't underestimate this very important step of CG character construction... if not, you've only created "puppets" :)

There is a quite big camber in the cornea, in the iris area. That irregularity, that all of us have, can become a great problem for a CG character. When rotating the eye, this area unfortunately would invade the eyelids faces, causing strange results. For that reason, I decreased this camber to avoid a probable future problem.

1. Create a sphere with few segments (in this case, 8):

2. If you prefer, delete the half and use a NURMS/Symmetry (MAX) or CPS Script (MAYA):

3. Here, we see the approximate size proportion of the iris in relation to the eye. It occupies an area a little larger than 2/4 of the height but not 1/3. Create 2 new loops according to the indications in red, exactly where the iris borders will be:

4. Here, the perspective view, after a small polygon "relax":

5. Model the small camber until getting a close result of this (side view):

6. We will transform the extremity triangles...

7. quads, cutting the mesh this way:

8. SubD wire version...

9. ...shade mode. Observe that the camber is minimum, different than it happens in the real eye:

10. Here are the initial proportions maintained after the completion of the first part, the cornea:



Oct 26, 2009
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good work with few steps

Nov 19, 2009
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In step 18 you say there is another tutorial. Which tutorial is that? I am not sure how you have such a good image of the eye, and how do you make it?

Dec 11, 2009
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good one

View atmadragon's profile
Dec 26, 2009
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nice how you make it i have blender but i dont know how to use im trying to find something that will give me and the upper hand of how to make charater and stuff like what you made here but i can never find the right tool or know what to do first im kinda looking around getting knowlege from every where lol by the way how u contribute here and what tool are u useing to create this so i can find and pratice modeling

Feb 12, 2010
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It seems that this tutorial is quite reliant on the previous one you mentioned in step 18. It would be highly appreciated if you would give a link to this.

Mar 05, 2010
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May 18, 2010
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thank you for both tutorials, they helped me a lot. Since I am a noob to 3d, I managed to design the texture and model the eye, but I am lacking knowledge in shading. Can you or someone else recommend a tutorial for shading?

Aug 28, 2010
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Check his website for the other Tutorial it's all there.

View brilliand87's profile
Dec 06, 2011
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wow that eye looks really realistic well done!

Aug 08, 2012
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why cant I see any Images?

View aashianu's profile
Aug 29, 2012
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not able to view the images, plzzz help

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