Eyeball Tutorial

As stated in my last post, I bring you a small tutorial on eyeballs, especially on getting the nice reflections in the iris, that make eyes so much more vivid. So here it goes:
The first image shows the different parts of an eyeball. From left to right: The outer lens, the pupil, the iris, the eyeball. Of course, the material for the lens would be a transparent yet glossy material (with a high specularity above 100). The pupil would have a shadeless black material, the iris needs an iris-texture (google is your friend) and the eyeball a simple white, but also glossy material. Ok, so far so good, these are the basics most of you already know and like they are shown on many webpages.

I once read these tutorials, too, but nonetheless had difficulty in getting the nice reflections in the right spot. Either they weren't visible at all or they were on the eyeball and not the iris. The clue is a small fact that you can observe in the second picture. The lens-mesh has a different diameter than the eyball. Many people simply cut the eyeball and use the separated bit for the lens. This does not work very well and, by the way, is not how our eyes really are. The lens has to have a much smaller diameter - with that little change, the reflection will be visible from much more angles (concerning the light source).

Of course you should test what diameter suits you best - but my experience is that you need to exagerate a bit, that is make the lens even more convex than in nature, and you'll get some nice reflections.
Of course, this technique is for render-models only. For realtime-models its a different thing, in most cases you don't need an eyeball with that much detail. But for cutscenes or animations I found this approach very satisfactory. 

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