Realistic Eye Iris in Photoshop

1 - In Photoshop, create a “New Document”. Make it 15 x 15 cm @300 dpi (it can be 72 dpi if you don’t need a high resolution), RGB Color Mode and with a White or Transparent “Background”.

2 - Go to View > New Guide and add a “Horizontal” guide @ 50% (Position). Repeat with a similar guide @ “Vertical”50% (Position).

3 - Select the “Ellipse Tool” (U) with the “Shape” option selected in the Top Menu. Click inside your “Canvas” and input a Width and Height values of 12 cm, make sure that the “From Center” box is checked. Name the layer “Iris Color”.

4 - Double-Click on top of its Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Blending Options:

Color Overlay: (#598a0b)

5 - Right-Click on top of the Thumbnail in the “Layers Panel” and choose “Duplicate Layer” or use Command/Control + J. Name the duplicate “Iris Grad 1”.

Double-Click on top of its Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Gradient Overlay:

6 - Select the “Ellipse Tool” (U) with the “Shape” option selected in the Top Menu and with Black as “Fill” color. Click inside your “Canvas” and input a Width and Height values of 4 cm, make sure that the “From Center” box is checked. Name the layer “Pupil”.

7 - Create a New Layer” by clicking on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Name the new layer “Iris Effect 1”. Make sure it is placed under the “Pupil” layer. With the new layer selected, create 13 x 13 cm circle with the “Ellipse Tool” (U), but this time, use the “Path” option in the Top Menu. Make sure that the “From Center” box is checked.

8 - With it still selected, head to Filter > Render Flame and use the following values: (Click OK if you get a Pop-Up window)

Change the “Blending Mode” to “Overlay”.

9 - Double-Click on top of its Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Drop Shadow:

10 - To deselect the “Path”, head to the “Paths” tab and click outside of its Thumbnail. Create a New Layer” by clicking on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Name the new layer “Iris Effect 2” and place it on top of everything.

11 - With the new layer selected, create 3.5 x 3.5 cm circle with the “Ellipse Tool” (U), but this time, use the “Path” option in the Top Menu. , make sure that the “From Center” box is checked.

12 - With it still selected, head to Filter and Alt/Option-Click on top of the last applied filter “Flame” and use the following values:

Change the “Blending Mode” to “Overlay”.

Double-Click on top of its Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Drop Shadow:

13 - “Duplicate” the “Uris Color” layer (Command/Control + J) and drag it so it is placed on top of everything.

Double-Click on top of its Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Inner Shadow: (#411f03)

14 - Double-Click on top of the “Pupil” layer Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Outer Glow: (#000000)

Hide the “Guides” by going to View > Show > Guides.

15 - Select the top layer and create a New Layer” on top by clicking on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Select the “Ellipse Tool” (U) with the “Shape” option selected in the Top Menu and with White as “Fill” color. Click inside your “Canvas” and input a Width and Height values of 2.5 cm, make sure that the “From Center” box is not checked this time. Place the center of the circle on the outer corner of the “Pupil” on one side. Right-click on top of the Layer’s Thumbnail and choose “Convert to Smart Object”

16 - Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a 5.0 px “Radius”.

17 - Duplicate the layer by dragging its Thumbnail to the “Create New Layer” button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Resize the duplicate circle to make it about 1 cm in diameter and place it opposite to the larger one on the inner rim of the “Pupil”. The idea is to create 2 light reflections.

18 - Select all the Layers but the “Background” using the “Shift” key, and create a “Group” by clicking on the small “Folder” icon at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Name the group “Iris”.

19 - Click on top of the “Iris Color” thumbnail while holding the “Command/Option” key to make a selection and make sure that the “Iris” folder is selected, then click on the “Create Vector mask” button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. This should hide the portions of the “Flame” effect that are outside the “Iris”.

20 - Duplicate the “Iris Color” layer by dragging its Thumbnail to the “Create New Layer” button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel”. Place the duplicate layer on top of the other ones but still inside the “Iris” folder. Name it “Light 1”. Double-Click on top of its Thumbnail to apply the following “Layers Styles”:

Gradient Overlay: (White to Transparent)

21 - “Duplicate” the “Light 1” layer (Command/Control + J) and make sure it is placed on top of everything. Name the duplicate “Light 2”, double-Click on top of its Thumbnail and modify the “Layers Styles” with the following values:

Gradient Overlay:

Lower the “Opacity” to 50%.

22 - Create a “New Color Lookup Adjustment Layer” and use “Fuji F125 Kodak 2393” as 3DLUT File (you can experiment with the different settings if you prefer).

23 - Check it out!

by @lornacane

1 Like

What should I do if Photoshop won’t let me render the flames? I click “OK”, but then it comes up with an error box and it won’t let me do it. :frowning:

¿What does the error message says? ¿And what Photoshop version are you using?