Realistic Eye Texture Painting

This time, I will show how, with some patience and a tablet, you can produce your own eye textures, applicable to your 3D characters. It's a realistic texture, but it can be simplified, depending of your intention and your character's style. This tutorial will also be able to be taken advantage by those that work with 2D, helping them to understand a little of the Photoshop capacities.

For that texture, I used the 1000x1000 pixels resolution. Approximate time of work to the final result: 3 hours.

1. Begin creating a new file, square (in that case, 1000x1000 pixels). Fill the background with some tone that have a little of gray (almost white). After, create a new layer and create a circular mask in the center of the image, with close proportions the one in the image on the left:

2. After deciding on the favorite color for the eye that you will paint (green, brown, blue), fill in the circle with it. After that, create a new layer and through the same procedure, paint the pupil with black:

3. Using the smudge tool (finger), produce some "blots" as suitable in the illustration below, always from center to outside:

4. Create a new layer, a new circular selection and paint it with white, according to the image:

5. Now, use the noise filter (Filter> Noise> Add Noise...) and use the same setup shown:

6. Now, we will apply another filter: Filter> Blur> Radial Blur... Use the options "zoom" and "best" and put a very high value in "Amount" (100 or close to 100). The result will be this:

7. Use some option of mixing layers, like Overlay, Pin Light, Screen, or the one that you prefer. After, use the "Liquify..." filter in this layer. Through it, create small irregularities so that your image resembles the one shown:

8. Duplicate the pupil layer and alter it's color using the menu "Image> Adjustments> Hue/Saturation... " or simply "Ctrl+U". Set the parameters as in the image below:

9. On this layer, use your ability to create more irregularities, this time, painted with a brush not very wide. Try to get a close result to the shown below:

10. Copy that layer, set some mixing layer option (overlay, for instance), until obtaining a close result to this:

11. You can simulate some window reflections with another layer, as indicated below:

12. Duplicate this layer that you have just painted and alter the color (Ctrl+U again) for one more orange or brown. Choose another layer mixing type to produce a result as the one shown below. Rotate and resize that layer and, if necessary, alter the layer transparency to get a satisfactory result:

13. Softening the iris outlines to break the painting aspect. For that, use: Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur... Choose a value not very high for not blotting too much. In this case, I used "6":

14. To darken and to delimit the outline of the iris, use the drop shadow with "Distance=0", little or no "Spread" and the best value that you find in "Size". Change "Blend Mode" to produce the best effect. Tip: you can also use "Outer Glow" to reinforce the shadows, like shown:

15. Select the layers where you painted the radial waves and apply a drop shadow, so their lines will have volume and seem like fibers:

16. To randomize a bit, create a new layer, select the white color for the background and the black for foreground and apply "Render > Clouds" filter. Blur their borders using gaussian blur filter and a few times:

17. Add more details to the layers where you worked the irregularities. Create a circular selection and go in the menu "Edit > Stroke... ". Choose a high value for the stroke (12, 14 etc). Applying the stroke you will obtain a result like this:

18. Use the gaussian blur again with a high value, according to the image on the left:

19. Resize that layer to center of the iris, adding certain depth in that central area:

20. We will begin the blood vessels creating a new layer, choosing a red color but with a little bit of orange, to break the red aspect. Choose a very small brush and begin painting at the center-borders and borders-center directions:

21. Create a new layer and add more veins larger and smaller:

22. Create another layer and add a red border as indicated on the left:

23. Create other layer where you will add some small blood vessels, creating some stains in the located area between the iris and the white area of eye surface:

24. Here is the "final" version (don't worry about the reddest parts. It practically will disappear in your character's eye):

25. Here a close-up to see the details better:

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