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If you want to add additional realism to your scene, you might want to consider using Subsurface Scattering. Now Subsurface Scattering basically stimulates the scattering of light beneath a surface, so in other words subsurface scattering. And this can be particularly good for semi-translucent objects. Marble is a great candidate for subsurface scattering, as are things like translucent plastic or milk. Skin is another one that can really benefit from subsurface scattering.
So let's take a look at how to do some skin on this little creature that we've been building. Now right now I have a very neutral material on my character, so if I hit F12 to render, you can see how-- well, he looks pretty solid. Now in this scene I have two lights: I have one in front of him and one directly behind him-- in fact, if I select that, you can see how that kind of comes up behind his head. Now when I zoom into this render, you can see the effects of that light.
It lights the top of his arm, but also, because it's behind his head, you don't really see through that head, and this is what gives it the impression of being fairly solid. Subsurface scattering can give kind of a nice transparent look to the skin. So if I turn it on, you'll see we have a number of controls here. Probably the best way to get the hang of it is to just to play with a few of the presets. So we have a number of them here: Chicken, Apple, Cream, Marble is another great one.
We're going to go ahead and select Skin2, and let's just do a quick render just to see the instantaneous effect of this. Now notice how this renders a little bit more slowly. This is because Subsurface Scattering is computing-intensive. It will increase render times. Now that it's rendered though, let's take a look at this a little bit more in detail. Notice how this arm is no longer shaded; it's more lit up by this backlight.
We also have the same effect that's almost like that rim light effect on this side of the head, and it looks much more like skin. Now we have a number of controls here. One is Index Of Refraction, in other words, how does it bend light? Scale is basically the scale of the object, and so it basically just determines how the light is scattered, how deep it goes. It gives you kind of a sense of scale in the scene. So basically larger objects will have less subsurface scattering than smaller ones.
Next, we have RGB Radius, which is basically how much does it blur and what colors does it blur? So in this case, we've got red fairly high, which means that the scattering is a little bit more biased towards red, which is how we got that orangey kind of color. Now down here we also have Scattering Weight: Does it scatter towards the front of the object or the back? The other ones affect the color of the skin of the character. So in this case we have this color here, and by default we're not blending that color in.
So if we were to turn this totally up, you can see how in the preview it goes from being mostly white to being this color. If I were to render this now, you can see how the character is now starting to take on the color of the skin. But we still have the subsurface scattering here, and a lot of that is determined by this RGB Radius. Now this will also work with textures.
Now we haven't really gotten into textures at this point. That's going to happen in the next chapter. But let's just get a little preview here. I'm going to go over to this panel here, which is our Texture panel, and you'll see I actually do have a texture applied to this character. And all I need to do is just turn it on in order for it to take effect. So I'm going to scroll down here to a rollout called Influence, and we're going to click on the Color option here, make sure that it's at 1. And then I'm going to go ahead and do a quick render.
Now notice how that texture comes in pretty nicely; in fact, if I turn on texturing in my viewport, you can what the original texture looks like, and you'll see that in the original texture his face or his belly area is white. And what we have here though is we have it coming in this kind of the skin color, and the reason is because it's actually blending both the color here, and the texture. But more importantly, notice how we still get our translucent effect, and we still kind of get that rubbery skin look.
Now if I wanted to use just this texture, all I have to do is just turn down that color and leave the texture where it is. And know when I render, you'll see that I get just the texture itself, but with subsurface scattering. So you can see that pretty nicely here in the arm and around the head. And also notice how the white is still a little bit kind of skin colored, and that's because again this RGB Radius determines the scattering color, and we've got some scattering coming both from the front and the back.
So as you can see, Subsurface Scattering is a really cool feature. It can give you a nice, natural look with just a few tweaks to the presets.
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