At SIGGRAPH Asia a few weeks ago, Disney’s global network of research labs called Disney Research presented its latest study on how to create more realistic-looking CG eyes. The Disney researchers argue that the current methods of generically modeled eyes are “gross simplifications” and don’t accurately represent the significant variation between real people’s eyes.
The capture system they’ve developed uses multiple cameras and varied lighting to scan all the visible parts of the eye: “the shape and texture of the white sclera, the shape and refraction of the transparent cornea and the shape and coloring of the iris, including how it deforms as the pupil narrows and widens.” The latter dilation is achieved by using an iris dilator deformer so that the eye model responds to changes in lighting.
“Generically modeled eyes may be sufficient for background characters, but it now takes significant effort to manually create realistic eyes for heroes and other leading characters,” said Pascal Bérard, a Ph.D. student in computer graphics at Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich. “Our reconstruction technique can greatly reduce the time spent and help increase the realism of the eye.”