Question for Kettu

Because you know a lot about surfaces for 3DL. 😛

I want to do an image similar to this one:


I even have a decent set of props for it:

props-balloon animals nature_rdna-cactus mega pack lgp-fantasy flowers decor_DAZ-decor basics

Only the last one, Decor Basics, comes with DS material presets. I’d usually just apply a Festive material preset on the vase as well as the balloon (but with a lower opacity setting) and then fiddle with the cactus spec settings so it doesn’t look plastic.

But I’m curious if there are other options for a more rubber-like balloon surface, a glazed clay or terracotta surface for the pot, and something for the cactus skin. Maybe there isn’t much one can do with cactus skin, but throwing it out there anyway.

I’d probably put the balloon animal and pot on a white primitive, with a simple white backdrop, if that matters.

Any suggestions?



28 thoughts on “Question for Kettu

    • I click on the link and see the red “PURCHASED.” 😳

      I completely forgot I had bought those. Can’t imagine how that happened….

  1. I was going to say “subsurface”, too, but NOT AoA’s shader. There is a problem with shader mixer that makes AoA’s shader much slower than UberSurface.
    In my SSS tutorial, I have an UberSurface recipe for a translucent sorta-stone on p.34. It can be adapted for those balloons. If you decrease SSS scale from 2 to 1, it can become a starting point for plant materials.

    But proper glaze is another matter. You can try and approximate it with a layer shader like UberSurface2 from the store, but it will miss the darkening at glancing angles effect. I forgot if you have US2, but if you have, you can try setting the bottom layer up with diffuse, bump and very spread-out specular (high roughness) and the top layer (“layer2”) would only have shiny specular and some reflection (with a few percent blur) enabled (diffuse being turned off) and be set to “add” (there are “add”, “multiply” and “mix” blending modes). What’s awesome about US2 is that it has Fresnel attenuation of specular, so you can at least have the specular brighter at glazing angles, as it should be in non-metals.

    • I don’t have UberSurface2, alas. UberHair and UberLight, but not that one. I never got around to buying PWSurface either.

      Is AoA subsurface much slower in DS4 as well as DS3? I can always use DS3.

      • PWSurface isn’t really something I’d recommend. PWGhost or PWToon, those are niche but excellent for NPR looks. PWSurface is that beast who tries do be part NPR and part “photoreal” but doesn’t do that well in either.

        No, I’m afraid it’s not a matter of DS version. It’s the way shader mixer does certain technical things behind the scenes.
        If you aren’t averse to a bit of tinkering under the hood, I could post a few screenshots later this week about how to change certain stuff in the “spaghetti” to work around the biggest issue.

        • I wouldn’t mind giving it a try, if it’s not too much trouble for you.

          I did try the Gummy shader on the balloon animal and it looked pretty good; didn’t take very long to render at all.

            • Thanks!

              One thing I did notice was how the color of the balloon became progressively darker as I lowered the opacity level to see what it would look like as a little more translucent. Didn’t like the way that turned out at all.

              I can’t remember which lights I used but they likely had at least AO; I hardly ever use lights without AO these days, unless it’s for a layer as part of a composite render.

              • Opacity actually makes the surface more transparent rather than translucent – exactly like layer transparency in image editors. It doesn’t influence subsurface calculations.

                Does AoA’s shader have refraction? I’m not at the computer ATM. If it does, then for a more “see-through” but bright balloon using refraction with an IoR of 1 (air) may work better (refraction will add up, while opacity alone will just take away).

                BTW if its a premade light set, you may want to check if there are no-shadow lights. They can make strange things happen to SSS.

  2. PS I’m not at the computer now so I can’t recall if US2 has a “roughness” or a “glossiness” slider. I remember there being some sliders named wrong. So it’s best to just check which way the highlight spreads out more =)

  3. Thanks for the info and, yes, the AoA shaders have refraction values — it was 1.3 and I changed it to 1.0. So far, this is what I’ve got:

  4. Also did an Iray render using just the uber iray thing. Maybe this is a good candidate for playing with Iray, since it’s a static prop scene with no people.

    And for the heck of it, since I bought the Rim Light Rig (and the Illumbrella) this weekend as part of the PA sale:

    LOL! Cactus needs work…

      • Yes to the black hole look. 😛

        There are surface shaders for use with this light rig, separate ones for hair, cloth, feathers, and leaves. I didn’t apply them to the planter vase or the cactus, but I think I’ll give that a try later on just to see what happens.

        Both the primitive and the balloon doggy had the AoA Gummy Shader applied to it, so maybe that helped with the color effect (which is kinda retro disco!)

        • Would be interesting to see what the “leaves” do to the cactus. I can only hope those surface presets are not any weird hacks “designed for the light specifically” but good meaningful materials that just lack from the default DS content.

          Technically, Iray cannot interpret RSL shaders at all, but DS apparently does some conversion under the hood (it’s a whole spy network of an app, what with all those covert operations….). So yeah, it may have turned it into something =)
          Generally, though, if you want best performance, it’s advised to apply dedicated Iray mats to things.

          • I was thinking of trying the “leaves” option as well. I’ll report back when I go poke around, though I assumed the shaders were specific to use with the rim lights rather than a more general usage.

            The render for the Rim Light Rig was 3DL, though the product also comes with an Iray version. I tend to stick to 3DL because I’m more used to it and know what I can get out of it, more or less consistently.

            I have a free Iray shader that approximates gelatin. I could try that on the balloon and see what happens. There may be other options, I just went with the quick-n-easy for the iray render. The balloon surface is too dull, and I’m not sure what can be done with the cactus. At the very least it needs some surface texture via displacement or something. I’m going to have to take a closer look at the texture maps and see what I can do with it. There are no bump maps; it’s a really old product.

            • If there are 3DL materials, then those are most likely hacks =) Of all the PAs, only Wowie does meaningful 3DL mats.
              Gelatin might work for the balloon, and if it’s too blurry/refractive, you know what to do – decrease refraction (glossy) roughness and and set its IoR to 1.
              For shiny stuff, I prefer top coat. Glossy only has thar reflectivity control which I suspect to be broken =) Top coat should be set to “scatter and transmit”, otherwise the jelly thing will get solid.

              Displacement should work – though in Iray you may need to increase subdivisions for it to look good. I guess both renderers use grey 128 as the midpoint (zero) displacement value. So that if you keep the white spots under the thorns grey, they shouldn’t move. I hope.

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