Fleshy eye rig in Maya



I’m rigging an realistic eye in Maya as a test. Trying to get all that soft eylid and eyeball movement.
I thought shwrinkwrap might be one way to go. Found one pretty good example for that.

I think i have quite similar setup. There’s extra mesh shrinkwrapped around the eyeball and eyelids are wrapped to that mesh with a wrap deformer. Problem starts when i’m trying to get the blink working.
well… it basically does not. Joints and blendshapes gets messed up.

Any recommendations how to make it work?


Think about spending your chips on this one.

Of course there are a million ways, but if you can create one using less fancy deformers(Expensive or finicky) then that is usually the one you want to go with. imho.


It sounds like you need to reorder your deformers - try passing the output of the shrinkwrap through both blendshape targets (as you want the eye to affect the face regardless of whether the eye is open or closed).

Alternatively, I would investigate using a softmod deformer, set to volume falloff and placed after the blendshape, to achieve the same effect. It’s faster and more stable than a shrinkwrap and wrap setup, and should produce an acceptable result (given that all you want is a lump following the eye motion).


I agree with Ed about trying to use a softMod or something else. With a softMod, you can locally move the center of deformation to get bulging effects. A lattice can also be used to create sliding or bulging type effects. I’ll plug my own blog post: Sliding and bulging effects with softmods

wraps and shrinks can get really heavy and slow, and usually they are harder to scale the entire rig.


Hi, thanks for your reply guys.
All those links and suggestions are useful in some cases, however, i’m afraid in my case softMod does not give me the exact movement i’m after.
My approach would be photorealistic and as close to the real eye as possible. It means, that the eyeball itself is not perfectly round and it has cornea bump/bulge(?). Soft mod can basically imitate the cornea movement under the lids, but the rest of the uneveness of the eyeball is not quite there, since it’s controlled by falloff map. I think i need to wrap the eyelids around the eyeball in order to get the most realistic results (or use some other method). And in addition, eyeball drags eyelids a little when it moves and so on.


Some of the references i found over the internet. Very interesting to see what’s happening with the eye.
In slow motion you can see wobbly iris and it looks to me like the eyeball does not “drag” eyelids too much, if at all. Many eye rigging tutorials and examples feature distinct eyelid dragging motion, but i belive this is just the uneven surface of the eyeball that makes the eyelids deform and maybe just sliiightly. drag it.
Hence the need to wrap eyelids around the eyeball. Somehow…


Fair enough. If extreme realism is your goal, you may need more precise deformers.

But maybe there is still a way to separate it somewhat so you can still use a lattice.

Use a shrinkWrap style deformer on a basic plane. Attach joints to that plane. Drive an FFD lattice with that plane. And then deform your eyelid geo with that FFD lattice.

This way, your complex deformer is stored on a simpler geometry. Passing it through a lattice would still let you create that slideable deformer space, which would let you pass your blink shapes through that bulge shape.

Not sure if that helps, or if it would work. Just some ideas. I would still personally avoid using any complex deformers directly on geometry.