Creating A Perfect Eye with 3DS Max
Creating a true, realistic 3D eye is a difficult task. In this tutorial I'll share with you the results of my investigation into creating a perfect 3D eye. I've tried to keep it simple and easy to follow. Please have patience and pay attention to all of details. Let's begin.
The geometry you use for eye will be strongly effective. A 3D eyeball should consist of two or three parts: cornea, iris, and sclera (you can combine iris and sclera together in one piece). The geometry you need to consider isn't only for the eyeball, but it's all shapes and forms in and out around the eye as well, such as the inner corner, eyelids, eyelashes, wet layer, outer corner and even the eyebrow. So I recommend you start by taking care of the geometry. Below is a sample of the parts of the eye you'll have to create (Fig.01).
For the eyeball itself, I recommend you don't use a sphere primitive, because if you add either the
MeshSmooth or TurboSmooth modifier, then a bad deformation will appear and we don't want
Instead we want to use a Capsule primitive. So go to Create > Geometry > Extended primitives > Capsule and drag into the viewport to create a capsule like this (Fig.03 & Fig.04).
Set the side numbers to eight, then convert it to an editable poly and delete all the middle faces, as shown in Fig.05 & Fig.06.
Weld the two parts together and you will have a nice sphere (Fig.07). Then select the edges shown in Fig.08 and connect them together.
Then select these edges and remove them (Fig.09).
Duplicate this sphere using Shift + Scale. This way you'll have two spheres in the same place. Select the new, larger sphere and then select the edges shown in Fig.10 and chamfer them (Fig.11).
Apply a MeshSmooth modifier and play with the geometry. You want to make a bulge in the front of it, like the one shown in Fig.12.
Now select the inner sphere and use soft selection mode to reshape the geometry and flatten out the front of it. That area will be our iris and you should now have something like this (Fig.13).
The final eyeball geometry should be like this one (Fig.14).
Notice that the scale difference between the two spheres is very slight. For placement of the eyeball in the head mesh, I recommend using a sculpting software while the sculpting of your head mesh is being completed. After you've placed the eyeball correctly, import both the head and eyeball meshes back into 3ds Max (Fig.15).
It's now time to work on the eyelashes. For that, it's better to use splines as a guide for extruding a circular surface along them. Create several different spline curves, then create a circular surface and extrude it along each spline to get different curved eyelashes. Set the taper amount parameter to make one end thinner (Fig.16).
You have to create different curves for lower eyelashes because those are more curved and smaller. When you've finished, copy these eyelashes, make a crowd and place them along the eyelids, as shown in Fig.17.
The direction of the eyelashes should be approximately toward the center of the eye (Fig.18).
Bear in the mind that it takes time to create eyelashes in a realistic way and to give them suitable randomness, so be patient!
After you've finished the eyelashes, create the wet layer by using a curved piped like geometry. The curvature of the wet layer should match the curvature of the cornea and lower eyelid. You can create the caruncula use a triangular geometry with some depth. Place it at the inner corner of the eye (Fig.19).
The time for texturing has come! Use pelt mapping to UV out the cornea and sclera. It's better to make a whole seam at the middle of each sclera and cornea meshes, as this way you can avoid stretching. Then use Photoshop to make textures; the more realistic the texture, the more realistic the eye. There are about four maps that you need (Fig.20):
- Sclera diffuse color
- Iris self-Illumination
- Cornea bump
- Sclera bump
All the maps have made from the sclera diffuse color. The cornea bump map should have a subtle noise, as well as the sclera bump map.
In the case of shaders, for the sclera you can simply choose a standard material or SSS if you like.
The settings for a standard material can be seen in Fig.21.
The cornea shader is the most important and there are several shaders we can choose from. But I found that a Raytrace material with the settings shown in Fig.22 worked well enough.
Apply all the maps and then you can move onto the rendering stage. I'd recommend using a powerful renderer like mental ray, with whatever settings you like. But before rendering, you'll need to create two or three area lights to mimic light shapes and reflections in the eye. Don't just use the default lights!
Once the lighting is sorted, hit "render" and enjoy the result!
My final render can be seen in Fig.23.
Thanks for your time and if you have any question, you can contact me: email@example.com