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"It's all in the Eyes" - creating realistic eyes
Added on: Mon Sep 17 2001
Page: 1 2 3 4 

Other things to consider

This is very important. If you are using a shadow maps you need to tell the cornea object to not cast a shadow and to not receive them. Its transparent anyway so it's ok that it doesn't cast a shadow.
If you don't do this the cornea will black out the iris and you wont see the inner eye at all. If you are using ray tracing i suppose you don't have to worry.

Lighting the Eye

Modeling the eye is only a part of creating the illusion of depth. Lighting is the final touch. One must always have at least 1 specular highlight in the eyes. You can usually do this in most rendering software by defining a light source that only effects the eyeballs and further more this light source should only cast specular light.

In other words this light will only effect the specularity of the eyeballs. In 3D-Studio Max you can easily do this by creating a light source and toggling the diffuse check box off, in the light source parameters. And don't forget to do "INCLUDE the eyeball objects only" in the light sources exclude/include parameter box

Animating the Eyeballs

Animating the eye is fairly simple. If your in 3D-Studio Max i suggest using the tape measure helper to animate the eye. A very good friend of mine and animation partner, Boris Ustaev came up with this. It's actually a lot better than using the Look at controller in Max.

If you're a Maya user, just go ahead and aim constraint the eyes to a null. I suggest constraining each eyeball to its own null, and then constrain those 2 nulls to one. That way you have the ability to animate each eye separately if you need to.

If you'd like to dilate the pupils you can setup a linked xform in Max. This linked xform would be assigned to the vertecies around the inner edge of the iris. You will need to assign the vertecies around the outer part of the pupil as well to a linked xform. And then create a dummy in the middle of the pupil, and use that dummy to control both linked xform modifiers.

Additional Images showing the Eyes in action

(Note: The eyeballs used on the character in the images are a different version of the eye but it uses a similar concept. The brown eye used in this example is a more detailed version. And its shaders are more refined.)

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