3D tip of the day - ZBrush eyeball with symmetry

ZBrush tip of the day by Glen Southern! Making eyeballs using Spotlight and textures works well, but what if you want to make your eyeball from scratch? Check this
video out...

Quite often, to make a realistic eye, I use a high-resolution image and apply it using Spotlight in ZBrush. But, sometimes, I want more control, and want to actually paint the eyeball from scratch. This quick tip explains how to make the eyeball, and use Polypaint to add initial color and material. Then, using a Standard brush and radial symmetry, we'll paint the eye as if it is was kaleidoscope.

In future tips we will explore using this same technique for sculpting objects - but for now, let's look at
an eyeball!


Download assets for this free tutorial.

Progress of a ZBrush eye from a Polymesh3D sphere to a colored eyeball, plastic materials and Polypainted texture for the sclera, iris and pupil

Progress of a ZBrush eye from a Polymesh3D sphere to a colored eyeball, plastic materials and Polypainted texture for the sclera, iris and pupil

Making the eye and beginning to Polypaint

To make the eye, select a Sphere3D from the tool menu and press Make Polymesh 3D to make it a true 3D object that we can work on. Make sure Colorize is active (Tool > Polypaint > Colorize).

Switch off ZAdd on the top bar, as we only want to edit material and color, not depth. Then select the Standard brush (Keyboard shortcut: B, S, T), and select Toy Plastic from the Material menu.

Now we can paint anything we like on the eye! The pro trick now is painting with Radial Symmetry turned on for a realistic effect...

Beginning to use Polypaint and switching on the Radial Symmetry to allow painting around a central axis...

Beginning to use Polypaint and switching on the Radial Symmetry to allow painting around a central axis...

Pro tip no. 1: Use the Transform Panel to access the Radial Symmetry

To get the radial effect I go to the Transform Panel and switch on Symmetry. I then hit the R shortcut to activate Radial. Choose the X, Y or Z axis, based on the way the red dots fall on your eyeball model (any will work, but only one of them should be active!).

Now adjust the slider up to about 25-50 to give good coverage around the central point. Set the RGB intensity to about 20% and paint the white of the eye with a red tint at the back of the eye. Then follow on with a black area for the Iris and pupil. choose your eye color, and paint around the black pupil and up to the edge of the black outline.

Add the Iris color from the pupil right up to the black edge, leaving a dark rim

Add the Iris color from the pupil right up to the black edge, leaving a dark rim

Pro tip no. 2: Adding realistic details

To make the eye looks more realistic keep adjusting the radial slider and try adding streaks of different colours. Brown eyes will have flecks of gold, yellow, green etc. I add more and more detail in very thin strokes by keeping your brush size low. Use a very small brush size and a dark red colour and draw in some veins on the sclera. Never let any of your stokes look TO symmetrical. Adjust your slider down to 3 and paint some thin lines, then slide up to 4 and paint more.

Adding detail is the secret to good eyes, and always use reference if you want to be accurate!

Adding detail is the secret to good eyes, and always use reference if you want to be accurate!

Related links:

Learn about the anatomy of the eye
Visit Glen Southern's website
Follow Glen Southern on Twitter
Discover more free ZBrush tutorials
Check out affordable ebook training for ZBrush

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