Tutorial: Reflective Eye

 Reflective Eye

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to simply and quickly add the reflection of a scene to your subjects eyeball. I’ve also included the actual Photoshop session in with notes so you can see for yourself how this is done.

First, create a Photoshop document and import your main eye image and the image you want reflected.

 Reflective Eye Reflective Eye

In this tutorial, the background layer is a high quality close-up of an eye. Our reflection layer in this image is a race car and driver.
Slightly distort the layer for perspective. Edit >> Transform >> Perspective.

 Reflective Eye

Scale the reflection layer so that it’s slightly larger than the eye, placing the image so that it covers the Iris and Pupil. You may have some overlap onto the Sclera but don’t worry, we’ll mask that out soon enough.
Now, we need to create a sphere about the size of the Iris. Don’t worry if your circle protrudes over the eyelid.
Create a new layer. On this new layer, fill the sphere selection with a solid color and hide it. (We’re just going to use this layer to quickly select our sphere later.)

 Reflective Eye

Option + Click the circle layer and then select the layer with your scaled reflection layer. You should have a sphere shape selected over the eyeball. Spherize (Filter >> Distort >> Spherize) the reflection layer.

Use a setting of 75%. Eyes are spherical but they aren’t perfect spheres so we don’t want our reflection to look like it’s on a ball versus an imperfect eye.

 Reflective Eye

Now add a layer mask to selected layer. It should automatically hide everything outside of the spherical selection area.
Select the brush tool. Hit the “D” key so that you can change your colors to the default colors black and white. Make sure you have the mask, and not the layer image selected. Now (remember, with the Mask selected) draw away any parts of your image covering the eyelids or Sclera (the white part of the eye). Use a brush with a hardness of 0% so you can draw natural fades for the reflected area.
I like working with layer masks because they’re non-destructive and they allow me to easily rethink my choices later.
Next, change the Blend Option of your reflection layer to “Hard Light”. Reduce the opacity to about 80%.
Your composition should be starting to take form by now. Your area in the eye should look like it’s reflected.
It’s probably also covering the Pupil. Get rid of this by drawing on the Pupil’s mask with your brush.

 Reflective Eye

Voila! We now have reflected scenery in our eye. You can fine tune it in various ways. Try duplicating your reflection layer to give the reflection some “pop”. Increase or reduce opacity to your liking.
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