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    Eye and hair test

    on October 31st, 2009, by soenke

    At Blender conference I showed an animation of an eye. Because the textures are procedural we might be able to use this eye model to quickly bake high resolution textures for not so important characters. For our main characters I hope to actually model the iris for close ups, so that we get nice shadow casting. The eye movements are some 2.5 f-curve noise modifiers, only to get some life into the animation.

    procedural eye test from Project Durian on Vimeo.

    Here you can find the .blend file, the included hdr texture is taken from and under cc-license. The node setups are a bit complicated and when there is interest I will write a short explanation summarizing the basic steps.

    The hair scene mostly began as a test scene to figure out good numbers for hair that is 4k worthy. But as I’m in charge of a second quad core render slave system aka squors, I made a boring turn around.

    hair test from Project Durian on Vimeo.

    So enjoy and have a nice weekend.

    edit: Here is a quick guide through the important node textures of the eye:


    40 Responses to “Eye and hair test”

    1. Tristan Says:

      Great Job, the eye is fantastic!
      Mostly by CG the end of the hairs looks unrealistic blury. In your animation you can’t see how it is now, but I hope in 2.5 it will be easier to have more realistic “hair ends”.

    2. D Says:

      The awesome awesomeness awesomely awesomed! I love shading and compositing in general, and I love what I’m seeing so far. 😀

      I wonder what those noisy shadows under the hair at 0:03 seconds in were…

    3. Pablo Lizardo Says:

      Incredible! the eye shading and movement are great!, you are doing an awesome job guys! keep working!

    4. Artorp Says:

      Wow, nice! The eye looks fantastic, and the hair shading is not bad either.

    5. Jacob Valenta Says:

      amazing looking 🙂

    6. Andreas (ndee) Says:

      Hey… I really love the Eye! Looks great! I am really exited about the finished Charakter!

      Keep it up guys! You are doing a great job!

    7. Wahooney Says:

      I’m going to have to deconstruct that eye with a fine tooth comb, it’s brilliant.
      I’m curious as to how you make it the texture wrap though.

      Thumbs up, soenke.

    8. Steven Says:

      Cool, I like the eye 🙂

    9. Shane Says:

      The node setups are a bit complicated and when there is interest I will write a short explanation summarizing the basic steps.

      There is always interest in how to get great results like this.

    10. Josh Says:

      I have to say that the eye looks fantastic! It would be really cool to have some sort of Python script that would automatically animate iris dilation based on the light it receives from the environment…Maybe a little too difficult for the scope of the movie, I know. But it would be cool nonetheless! Great work guys (and gal)!

    11. kram1032 Says:

      Sure there is interest into the making of the eye 😀

    12. ajedros Says:

      Sencillamente, espectacular. No veo la hora de que salga la pelicula.

    13. wo262 Says:

      will you do something like this? with nodes, sub-surface scatering or some kind of strange method?

    14. look Says:

    15. massile Says:

      OH MY GOD !!! Durian will be AWESOME !! extraordinaire <—- this is french

    16. ddillert Says:

      Awesome job. Keep up the great work. I like how the curves are used in conjunction with the Shape Key to create the random movement. Josh’s idea would be a nice additional feature. You could use the light energy and position to calculate the distance and direction to figure out how much the iris should expand or contract. Huge fan of automation!! 😉

      I would love to learn how you set up the nodes to create the eye. Please please please make a small tutorial!!!! THANKS!

    17. wysiwyg Says:

      the eye is procedural?! tutorial Please!! 😉

    18. mercury Says:

      wow; el ojo que todo lo ve…
      buen trabajo chicos…

    19. dona Says:

      yo opino lo mismo esta pelicula sera genial
      estoy ansiosa por verla

    20. D Says:

      Hey, Jan already came to visit?!
      There was something I desperately wanted to let you know, and that is that I very much wish for the score to feature a very strong and hummable main theme that is well repeated.

      Something like Sintel deserves a theme that no-one can forget! I hope Jan might try to come up with a few and get some feedback as to which one would be best either from the director, team or even community. 😀

      My mind is thinking of John Williamsy themes, of course. 😛

    21. Kirado Says:

      guys please.. hate not being able to watch your vids.. ogg and youtube puleaase?

    22. Zain Says:

      how the animation so amazing can’t wait……………..

    23. soenke Says:

      Thanks for all your encouraging words, tomorrow I’ll write a quick guide through the node setup.

      The wrap around is a UV trick. Just unwrap a uv sphere via spherical projection in side view. That way horizontal textures will wrap around. BTW it’s a quick method to UV texture spherical textures onto spheres (eg. planets).

      Procedural iris control would save important animation time. So it might be worth investigating.

      Nice vid. For the moment it’s all standard shading. Surely we will create better shading for hair, but hair dynamics seem more important now.

    24. wo262 Says:

      thanks for reply

    25. Mike Says:

      Nice Eye! Reminds me of an earlier blend tutorial, I forget who did it though.
      Thanks for sharing the .blend too.

    26. Nixon Says:

      Hey everyone!

      Great eyenimation! I seen a grainy version of it at the conference stream but the real thing looks much better! The hair was kinda spooky with that bloodred wrapped around that ball ( first i had the impression it was added to the eye thing:D)
      Anyway happy halloween to the whole team, hope you had some spooky party or something of that sort.
      best regards from Berlin

      P:S: My comment form was prefilled with Nathan’s data, somehow that name mashup seems to haunt this pages (blendernation also)…imagine the rumors one could cause speaking as one of the team…like ‘Sintel dragon is actually Ton in a costume made of a gorilla and a unicorn’…scary huh!

    27. soenke Says:

      Thanks for the comments 🙂

      Added explanations.

      Actually I thought about combining the with the hair and let it fly around, might look funny especially with a nail poking the eye. But halloween is over… 😉

    28. Nixon Says:

      @ soenke
      lols remember there might be kids watching and reading along..better make that nail a bolt with such a rubber tip( the type that sticks onto walls and windows) ;D
      well halloween is over but it has left its mark:)
      best regards

    29. Kyle Says:

      That is awesome for procedural! Your standards for “not important characters” are awe inspiring.

      One crit: The model’s cornea is “bumpy”, at least the reflections were. Corneas are always perfectly smooth and convex. Your reflections look like a dinged up metal spoon, not a healthy eye.

    30. rogper Says:

      It’s probably too late to ask but anyway:
      In the normal eye modeling tutorials and documentation they advise us to model the Iris cone inwards to give that eye lighting characteristic… but in your eye the iris is orientated outwards and it looks pretty cool and real, so…
      Why did you model it this way and which is more similar to reality?

    31. soenke Says:

      Thanks for the comments!

      I’m aware of the cornea problem 😉

      A lot of 3d eyes are inwards, that way the highlight on the iris is easily created. But after searching for quite a bit of eye anatomy reference pictures it seems that the real eye tends to be bend outwards or almost flat.
      I think the highlights (not the reflections on the cornea but the highlights on the iris), created by light coming from the side, are caustics (maybe due to reflections of light on the inner side of the cornea). Otherwise I can’t really explain why there are pictures with light coming from the side and highlights on the shadow side of the iris.
      Other highlights, created by light coming from above, are simple reflections but they seem to be highlights because parts of the eye socket, the eyelids and the eyelashes can cast shadows onto the eyeball/iris. But these are only my humble thoughts and I’m open for discussions.

    32. D Says:

      The main reason why the iris is lit more on the other side of the light source is because it’s bent in by the cornea. If you may refer to this profile view of a cornea:

      If you imagined that you were a lamp, it would be very clear to see that most of what you were hitting was the other side of the iris. I hope this might help! 😀

    33. ward Says:

      that eye is fantastic!!

    34. soenke Says:

      An iris being bend inwards would indeed explain the light play, but doing a google image search for “eye anatomy” spits out a lot of pictures of eyes with an iris bend outwards or being flat.
      And about your picture, I’m not quite sure if the hole iris is bend in or if it’s just the very near area around the pupil. To me the main part of the iris looks flat in your picture.
      Looking at my own eye doesn’t seem to reveal an inward iris, but I have to admit that it’s hard to tell because of the refractions.
      Personally I think the rendered results with an outward iris seem more appealing, but we will probably discuss this issue in the team. Thank you for your input, it made me think more about it 🙂


    35. D Says:

      No no no! 😀 I wasn’t trying to say the iris is outward at all!

      I was saying that the LIGHT is bent IN by the cornea TOWARDS the iris!

      Go up to one of your blue-eyed colleagues and ask him to stare straight ahead. Then move around him and see how the image of the iris DISTORTS as you come to his side.
      If the cornea in the image that I showed did not bend light, you would not be able to see the iris as you are seeing a flat plane at 180 degrees; but beause the cornea bends light, light bouncing from the iris is bent towards you when it exits through the clear part of the cornea that you should have been seeing right through, so that you can see the iris though distorted through the shape of the cornea. This shape just so happens to bend more light from the other side of the iris than the side closer to you.

      Let me draw you a ray diagram…

    36. D Says:

      Here it is! 😀

      Can you see it?

    37. D Says:

      Blender can demonstrate this, too (IOR=1.38), but I can’t get it to bend light so that it is lit realistically, also… 🙁 Something to work on.

    38. soenke Says:

      Aaahh, I completely misunderstood you.. I guess it was too late and my english isn’t very good anyway 😀
      What you are referring to is the refraction of the light and yes, ior is the way to create such an effect in blender. The lighting of things through refraction is called caustics, which is a feature that isn’t in blenders internal renderer. But with textures it should be possible to fake that effect. Actually in the model I posted the iris already has a simple texture which tries to mimic that effect.
      I have to see if refraction for the iris will be necessary. If so the eyes will need to use raytraced transparency. Depending on the shot it might eat up more render time but I try to keep it as low as possible. So for the final animation the settings might differ from shot to shot. Though nothing is really final yet… 😉

    39. rogper Says:

      @soenke and D
      Thanks for the explanations! Very interesting indead.
      I’ve also googled a bit and noted that anatomically is perfect and that do are tutorials that also do it this way:

      I’ll now have to think 🙂

    40. alain Says:

      have to see if refraction for the iris will be necessary. If so the eyes will need to use raytraced transparency. Depending on the shot it might eat up more render time but I try to keep it as low as possible. So for the final animation the settings might differ from shot to shot. Though nothing is really final yet