Thursday, 7 July 2011

Subsurface Scattering

Since I just recently found out that mental ray's mia_material is the most versatile shader ever. I now tried it with subsurface scattering.

Obviously, mental ray does have specific subsurface scattering shaders, but the mia_material can do the same job and I think it's more intuitive and easier to setup then the misss shaders. I would probably not used it for complex skin shading, but for a simply getting a realistic semi transparent look, it's brilliant.

This test is definitely not prefect. I think the transparency is bit too much, this might be because the grapes are hollow right now and once the seeds are inside this might look better already. I also put texture maps on pretty much anything I could (diffuse, reflection, refraction and translucency colour), that might have been too much and I'll have to tweak them a bit to make it look better.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mental Ray's awesome

This is a render test of translucency with the mia_material shader. It's a simple nParticle simulation with a bit of self attraction, reduced self collision and low mass, first instanced with a simple black sphere (for the actual seed), then converted to polygons (for the jelly bit). The jelly outer part is shaded with the mia_material. I tried misss shaders and the mib_glossy_refraction, but neither gave a result like that.

I don't know why I never bothered learning more about mental ray. Okay, it's not the most intuitive option and some of the connections can confuse, but the documentation is actually quite good and there is quite a lot of help on the web.

More important, though, are the results and man am I impressed. I spent the last two days playing around and reading up on some of the shaders and their capabilities. Then it only took me 10 mins to set up the shader for this test and (I think) it's already looking pretty good. The only issues noticeable are the little spots in the mesh, which are either holes (generated by maya when converted from particles to polygons) or the original nParticles poking through.
The rendertime was surprisingly low as well and that with FG and physical sun and sky turned on.

I kinda wished I would have realized a bit earlier how awesome mental ray is, but better now than never.