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Test Subject
Original Poster
#1 Old 13th Apr 2005 at 8:42 AM Last edited by tiggerypum : 4th Sep 2007 at 12:01 AM. Reason: added psp info
Default Tutorial: Custom Eye Colours using Photoshop (Beyond just Recolouring)
I've gotten quite a few compliments on my custom eye colours, so I thought I would post a tutorial showing the technique I use.
Edit by Tiggerypum: If you have Paint Shop Pro - check out the instructions in this message in the thread: psp tips here

You can get decent results by simply recolouring the Maxis default colours, but I find that I can get much more interesting and unique shades by starting from scratch. For this tutorial I will be assuming that you already know how to export and import files from Bodyshop. If you don't, there are numerous other tutorials that cover that same ground. I will also be assuming that you have a basic working knowledge of Photoshop. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

I used Photoshop CE for this tutorial, but from what I remember of earlier versions, it should work unless you're using a very old version of Photoshop.

I will admit that this looks like a LOT of steps, but once you have it down it only takes about two minutes total (Mere seconds if you save the steps as an Action.), and the results are worth it.

In Photoshop, create a new document, 96 pixels in height and 36 pixels in width.

Zoom in to about 400% so that you can see what you're doing.

Create a new layer, and delete the background to get rid of the locked background layer, if necessary.

If the colour chooser isn't open, go to Windows ---> Color to open it. Click on the swatches tab.

Pick a grouping of four similar colours, ranging from darkest to lightest. The further apart the colours are in shade, the more detail you will have in the finished eye.

Using the rectangular shape tool, fill the layer with the darkest colour. Switch to the next lightest colour, and make a rectangle vertically down the centre of the layer, leaving approximately five pixels of the first colour showing on either side.

Repeat this until you have used all four colours. The result should look something like this:

(Picture enlarged for sake of clarity.)

The important thing is to have the darkest colours on the outside, with the lightest colour in the centre. Otherwise this won't work.

Go to: Filter ---> Stylize ---> Wind

Set the Method to Wind and the Direction to From The Right. Click OK.

Do it again, only this time set the direction to the left.

Go to: Image ---> Adjustments ---> Invert

Repeat the wind filter from both the left and right directions.

Invert the image to get your original colours back.

It should now look something like this:

Using the rectangular marquee tool, select an area on the right side of the canvas approximately five pixels wide.

Go to: Select ---> Feather

Set the feather radius to 5 pixels and click OK.

Go to: Image ---> Adjustments ---> Brightness/Contrast

Turn the Brightness all the way down (Or whatever looks right for the colours you've chosen. Darker colours might only need the slider halfway down.) and click OK.

Repeat the previous steps on the left side of the canvas.

Go to: Image ---> Canvas Size

Change the canvas width to 48 pixels and set the anchor point to the centre right.

Using the Rectangle Shape tool, fill the transparent part of the canvas on the left with black. This will be the pupil.

Go to: Image ---> Canvas Size

Change the canvas width to 96 pixels and set the anchor point to the centre left.

Go to: Image ---> Rotate Canvas ---> 90 Degrees CW

IMPORTANT: Make sure you only have one layer! If there's more than one, Go to: Layer ---> Merge Visible

Go to: Filter ---> Distort ---> Polar Coordinates

Choose the Rectangular to Polar option and click OK.

You should now have a fairly decent looking eye.

(This pic actual size.)

To tweak it a bit, you might want to duplicate the layer, and change the blending mode. On lighter colours, Overlay works quite well, on darker colours Color Dodge will brighten it up. Just play around with it a bit and see what works best for the colours you've chosen. When you're done, merge the layers.

Now, one last step.

Go to: Filter ---> Render ---> Lens Flare

Position the flare somewhere in the upper right part of the iris, and play with the sliders until it looks how you want it.

And you're done. Just copy the eye, paste it into the file you exported from Bodyshop, and position over the original eye. It should fit exactly, if you have used the dimensions specified in this tutorial. Flatten the image and save.

By using different colours and experimenting with layer styles, you can get many different results.

Advanced users: It's well worth the time to save the steps as an Action. Then you can make a dozen or so colour bar sets, run an automated batch, and just pick the ones that look especially nice for further editing.

EDIT 7/20/05: Check out post #14 in this thread for some interesting variations!
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
#2 Old 15th Apr 2005 at 1:38 AM
What you have here is very nice, and easy to follow. Do you mind if I link it in the How Do I Make Clothes For My Sims Thread? (I might have to come up with a new title. . .again.)

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Lab Assistant
#3 Old 15th Apr 2005 at 1:55 AM
oh my gosh!!! thank you!!! i actually know what im doing now!!lol
Test Subject
#4 Old 15th Apr 2005 at 6:41 PM
THANX SOOOO MUCH! Can you please post a link of your sims so i can see how it looks on a sim please?
Lab Assistant
#5 Old 15th Apr 2005 at 6:53 PM
Excellent tutorial. I love the results I've gotten. I'll never download an eyecolor again.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#6 Old 16th Apr 2005 at 7:38 AM
Faylen -- Feel free to link it where ever.

Lpfan -- I don't actually have any sims up anywhere at the moment. Lost my webspace and haven't gotten around to reuploading all my stuff yet. (Hundreds of items on a 56k internet connection...ouch.) I'll go dig up a screenshot though.
Test Subject
#7 Old 16th Apr 2005 at 8:40 AM
That's very kind of you. Okay I tried to make one of those eyes but how to you delete the background layer? Because when I "wind" it, it comes transparent. (All I've ever done on Photoshop was recolour)
Test Subject
#8 Old 16th Apr 2005 at 9:21 AM
Okay nevermind, it seems I skipped a step.
Test Subject
#9 Old 16th Apr 2005 at 1:35 PM Last edited by Lpfan : 16th Apr 2005 at 1:39 PM. Reason: I was being stupid
Default Re:

It looks so beautiful!! Thanks a ton :D

The first time I made this it took me 5 minutes
The second time it was only 2
Lab Assistant
#10 Old 18th Apr 2005 at 4:45 AM
Excellent!! I tried and made it an action so now it only takes seconds to make eyes. Love it! Thank you!!
Test Subject
#11 Old 19th Apr 2005 at 1:04 AM
ooo! this tutorial is really cool! i made my first good eye! thanks!
Test Subject
#12 Old 29th Apr 2005 at 1:15 PM
wow this is great
Top Secret Researcher
#13 Old 21st Jun 2005 at 4:17 AM
Thank you so very much for this tutorial I shall give it a try. Looks like this is going to be fun!!! Thanks again
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
#14 Old 14th Jul 2005 at 5:16 AM
One thing I might add...

Once you apply all the wind steps, and do the brightness/contrast to darken the edges, I then go back and select both edges the same way like for the brightness/contrast step, but with a feather of 7...

Then do hue-saturation on each side and give it a little bit of a tint. For example, I just made my own eyes for my self-sim, and the main colours I picked are a golden brown/green, but for the right side tint I made it a little turquoise (as my eyes are edged in a little ring of a more bluish hue) and for the left (center) a little more golden/green. Then do the rest of the steps as normal and it creates a -very- realistic-looking eye.

This second one was created with variations in grey/green to slightly yellow/orange, and then the inside tinted with a yellow/orange.

Anyway... I LOVE this tutorial, and I hope this one little bit will be helpful for others. Thanks much! I'm having so much fun with this!
Test Subject
Original Poster
#15 Old 20th Jul 2005 at 1:39 PM
Wow, nice variations! Those look great.
Test Subject
#16 Old 23rd Jul 2005 at 8:01 AM
Love it ..thanks
Forum Resident
#17 Old 23rd Jul 2005 at 12:00 PM
Thank you so much!!! the results are fabulous
Test Subject
#18 Old 13th Aug 2005 at 12:52 PM
Is there any way that you can make a tute for PSP7 since I don't have Photoshop?
#19 Old 25th Sep 2005 at 6:30 PM
Very easy to follow tutorial. Does it work in Paint Shop Pro X? That's the program I have. If not, were can I get photoshop?
Lab Assistant
#20 Old 26th Sep 2005 at 9:52 PM
Um can some1 help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really like those eyes!

[COLOR=Yellow]I love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and yellow!!!!! Psalms 139:23-24 look it up if you have a Bible, because I don't want to type it all.
#21 Old 29th Oct 2005 at 11:25 PM
for some reason, its just not working for me.
i did everything, but instead of looking like this:
<img src="http://www.runescapehaven.com/sims2/four.jpg">
it looks...well...different.
the pupil is the only thing rounded when i clicked polar cordinates.
so...what do i do?
#22 Old 29th Oct 2005 at 11:26 PM
aparently html doesnt work. lol...
this is what i meant:
Test Subject
#23 Old 30th Oct 2005 at 5:43 PM
Default Help
heya peeps
i need some help about making the eyes
i havent got photoshop,will it work on any other programs?
if not then how do i get the Photoshop program?
Please help
Test Subject
#24 Old 20th Nov 2005 at 5:39 AM
Hey, great tutorial! I made my first custom eyes using your tips. I'm using Adobe Photoshop CS.

Thanks a bunch.

~Currently Playing with my BJDs, Sims 2 and Sims 4~
not really into Sims 3...
Lab Assistant
#25 Old 20th Nov 2005 at 11:30 AM
Thanks, that is very helpful! Best tut I have seen on this.
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