When creating eyes for myself - and sales - I found that although they are perfectly straighty oriented and well-positioned in Photoshop, the avatar wearing those imported textures soon suffers from Strabismus or ’squint’.
Is this a eye disorientation a bad thing? Although they say woman which suffer from a minor form of strabismus are more attractive to men, still, yes!
Why eye texture orientation is important
When making an eye textures just from two circles - the iris and the pupil - the eye looks dead any no has no where near the fascination of RL eyes, more on this in a next tutorial. ;) Eyes are moist, round and contain a lens, thus reflect light: just compare the eyes of a dead bird with those of an alive one. The shape and size depends on what kind of lighting there is one the eyes - but always - eyes show highlights and shadows. For use in Second Life, the highlights and shadows need to be added to the texture, as the software will not recognize the eye as a ‘glassy, shinethrough but reflecting’ object. Either that, or it does a lousy job at displaying such objects. ;)
If your texture is wrongly oriented the eye’s highlights are out of place and the avatar wearing the eyes will squint beyond attractiveness. Because, really, eyes almost never have highlights on the ‘below right’ part of the eye, which makes them look artificial - not necessary a bad thing - and ‘out of scene’ - definitely a bad thing. Just check OnRez and the in-world shops: the best eyes in Second Life are those where a lot of attention went to detailed highlighting and shading.
What’s the right orientation for eye textures?
Decided to - for once and for all - find out what is the correct orientation for Second Life eye textures, I took the Linden’s basic eye template and added some marks on it in Photoshop:
- Up, down, left and right.
- Lines for distance measuring.
I then uploaded this testing texture to Second Life and created myself a pair of eyes with it. (Create new body part ‘eyes’, go into appearence, wear the eyes, change the texture for those, safe.)
Taking a alt+0 look at my eyes, I quickly saw some things seriously wrong with my eyes:
- Although the pupil seems to correct in size, the iris is huge, disappearing behind the eyelids beyond attractiveness.
- The mark saying ‘up’ finds itself where the mark saying ‘right’ should be. So the texture is rotated 90° CW, clockwise.
Luckily both problems are easily fixed in Photoshop, even without butchering your eye texture all to bad.
Resizing the eye texture
As the rendering in Second Life clearly shows that the iris & pupil are to large - else they would not disappear behind the eyelids, we need to scale those down a bit. Iris & pupil need to become smaller compared to the complete eye texture.
Select your iris & pupil and scale them down to 75%. If you want huge eyes, maybe even 80% or 85% will do the trick.
If you did the effort to texturize/colour/paint the ‘white’ of your eye too, you might want to just scale down the whole texture and then use canvas size to bring the canvas’ size back up to the original 256×256px size.
Rotating the eye 90° CCW
As Second Life - when applying it on eyes - rotates your texture 90° clockwise, we just rotate our texture 90° counter-clockwise. That’s to the left.
As it’s more easy to work on an eye texture that actually looks like how it will display in Second Life, I suggest you safe this step for the last, when everything else on your eye texture is finished. As your eye texture is perfectly square with the eye positioned in the exact middle, you do not distort anthing with rotating it 90° CCW.
Et voila, an eye that does not look squint. Now, according to your liking there are a few other minor thingies you can do: not making your iris & pupil completely round to get a more catlike look. Or moving the iris and pupil a bit up before rotating it 90°, so that those are positioned a tiny bit higher up the eye. Looks stunning to me! But of course, such things are beyond maths and tutorials, and are just a matter of personal taste. =)
More tutorials on texture creation, Second Life photography and SL tips and tricks in general can be found in my Second Life tutorial section. Happy browsing and learning! ;)