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Realsoft Forum • View topic - How do I make..what? Ideas for material walkthroughs

How do I make..what? Ideas for material walkthroughs

Moderator: Timo

How do I make..what? Ideas for material walkthroughs

Postby Timo » Friday 2. June 2006, 11:43

As people seem to find VSL a hard subject, I thought I'd make some material creation walkthroughs to the Wiki. I'd like to get some user input on what kind of materials are hard to create. For example 'How do I make an animated lava material?'
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Postby Guest » Friday 2. June 2006, 13:16

Fore exmaple:
Foam on beer.
Beefsteak.
Potato.
Sponge.
Sand of hourglass.
Bread.
Wet towel.
Muffler of wool.
Lightning.
Pearl.
Golf ball.
Basketball.
Tennis ball.
tread .
Concrete wall.
Fingernail.
Tongue.
Cloud.
Rainbow.
Heat haze.
carpet.
block sugar.
and suchlike.

K-UDA
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Postby onyx » Saturday 3. June 2006, 06:41

I posted this link long time ago (thread about Mental Ray shaders on CGtalk):

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s= ... 9163516ede 0&threadid=104578&perpage=15&pagenumber=1

Really great pack of inspirations...
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Postby Timo » Sunday 4. June 2006, 18:46

Both of you are more or less missing the point: most of K-UDA's examples are clearly texturing problems, not material. In general, only use procedural textures if you can't do it by hand. There's some good stuff in there as well though. And onyx, I'm not looking for inspiration on material making, I want to know what kind of materials people are having problems with.
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Postby geo » Monday 5. June 2006, 18:59

Ik ook. Matrices have been good to me throughout my life, but I still have trouble with materials that use ray and normal stuff. Like shiny fur. I don't have trouble using it but I haven't bothered understanding it. I'd appreciate more explanation of illumination materials. Hope it's not in the manual, having said that :-)

I can't do grass, if you're looking for something else. I'd like a grassland that looks good at different distances.

Also can't do water with waves, ripples. Snow. And bloodshot eyes.
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Postby Timo » Monday 5. June 2006, 20:06

That's more like it... bloodshot eyes is the only one of those that I'd use textures on. Illumination models aren't exactly something that people should have to do themselves, but I think it'd make a nice tutorial.
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Postby Karl » Tuesday 6. June 2006, 11:52

I have played with the idea myself on writing a tutorial that deals with shading. But not the typical walkthrough of one shader, but how to utilize copy&paste from existing examples and how to make it work. Also a discussion on when to use what, common bugs and mistakes, and compatibility issues (GI channels and diffuse only lights are messy to work with).

I started, but there just wasn't enough free time to do too much with it.

Take i.e. the good old glass example. Discuss around possible solutions instead of saying "this is how to do it". Should you assign reflectivity and transparency the quick way? Or the more timeconsuming way with the raytrace object with or without custom ray support? The connection between reflections and specularity seems to be missed quite a bit.

I think the most fundamental issue with using VSL is being able to copy&paste selected items from existing material. I.e. steel material might be good enough, except one could possibly want anisotropic speculars -- how to replace these with anis?

Some reflection methods might deal well with GI, others might be horrible together with enviroment reflections.

A discussion about diffuse shading models (default Lambert, Andy's curve shading, Oren-Nayar etc) and specular shading models (default, curve controlled, blinn, anisotropic etc) compared to real world examples, and how to recognize these, would be of more benefit to the average user than "how to make a blinn shader" (which is already there ready to use).

Also a note about "when is simple good enough, and when do we go extreme" discussion about materials could prove helpful. Many "VSL newbies" tend to use too simple materials, whereas I often tend to be too extreme even for objects that are hardly visible in the scene (guess I have something to learn myself here, huh? :))

On a list of "materials", I would go for:
1. Realistic fabrics without displacement.
2. More and more realistic glass (from basic glass to multi-dispercant absorative glass)
3. Materials with sharp and diffuse reflections, and their specular counterpart (going from gold to aluminum to keep it simple).
4. Making any material compatible (with GI, diffuse only lights, shading studio etc, lots of channel tricks has to be used here).
5. Serious usage of your AO shader in a "multipass workflow" (ambient lighting/preset illum minus AO result equals pretty nice GI effects)
6. How to make good looking plastics (check the TV image on forum for extraordinary good plastics example).
7. How to do proper pattern antialiasing; how to reprogram existing patterns. You know, the basic tricks used by many now to fade a selector based on antialiasing density -- something like that :D See vesa's fish project under photorealistic.
8. Transparent plastics, i.e. a plastic bottle.
9. Realistic multitransparent materials, i.e. a wine glass with one IOR containing wine with another IOR.
10. How to create smooth coatings using the reflect operator with reduced bumps with either a raytrace operator or custom reflected rays, both of which have their benefits.
11. How to create a true shellac material (separate bumps and diffuse shading models should be possible). NOT easy by any means though.
12. Wet surfaces. How to scope for wetness and how to make it appear actually wet (darker, more reflective, sharper and brighter specularity usually etc).

Well, this is just a few examples I came up with at the moment.

Geo, a rather nice explanation about normals and vectors and similar can be found here:
http://www.pxl8.co.uk/lighting.htm

Good luck with your tutorial(s). I hope you can find better time than myself -- and probably better explanations than my own :)
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Postby Timo » Tuesday 6. June 2006, 14:00

You're very much on the same line as me, inluding the lack of time :? I'll hopefully have a few (paid) weeks off this or next month, so I'll have some time to put on this.
Glass sounds like a brilliant startpoint, as it's something everyone uses and the default glass material is... lacking. I think I'll need some help finding a good way to approach this stuff though; I'm pretty far removed from a VSL newbie so I might take a lot of stuff for granted. This shouldn't be too hard, as there's no deadline we can reiterate as much as we want.

Your list is pretty damn good, it even includes stuff I don't know... I've never had good results using VSL AA. Multi-dispercant absorative glass [sic] is a tough-ish subject as well: I've had no luck so far getting absorption to affect shadowing or getting (RayTracer) blurred reflections/refractions to affect caustics. And doing absorption, dispersion and glossiness in the same glass material will be a nice mess... and slow as hell :)

On the subject of copy/paste, it's nearly doable for most parts, but it'd help a lot if the materials would use the same channels/naming conventions for stuff. Take, for example, a glass material where the specular is affected by the fresnel formula. The reflection/specular value is calculated to a channel in Surface Properties, then used in a specular object in Surface Illumination. If we'd want to use anisotropic speculars in this material, we could copy/paste the Surface Illumination shader from another material, but it probably wouldn't use the same 'input' channel as the specular object.

Most other s/w have hardcoded channels for stuff like this. It might be a good idea to work on this direction by standardizing user channels for these: Specular_Color, Specular_Sharpness and so on.
</rant>
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Postby Timo » Tuesday 6. June 2006, 14:20

Meh, need to rant more...
For the copy/paste problem, it would be good if code 'blocks' were dropped into levels.

There's not that many shading models implemented in RS, it might be a good idea to add some before making a tutorial on them.

And comments on your list:
3: I'll make a modification of my glossy glass material for this... it should be quite easy to use. A tutorial on GI specular (glossy reflections) might be in place. Binding specular sharpness to reflection sharpness is pretty much impossible with the specular object, but can be done with custom speculars.
5: Compositing is pretty much sw agnostic and Tim already has a nice tutorial on multipass rendering
9: This isn't a material problem as such. RS handles this fine, no need for multi-surface-normal-flipping-thingumabobs like in some sw.
12: http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/wet_materials/wet_materials.htm
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