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Defining sub-surface scattering

From: Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya

Video: Defining sub-surface scattering

Subsurface scattering is a phenomenon that occurs when photons of light penetrate the outer layers of the surface. It bounces around inside and then leave the surface to return back into the environment. It's a phenomenon that gives human skin a very translucent quality and adds to the realism when you do character models. So for sample on this particular model, you can sort of see the red quality in the ears. There's a strong light coming from the background that's sort of lighting up the ears and making it look like sort of thin cartilage. There is also sort this slight reddening here in the shadows.

Defining sub-surface scattering

Subsurface scattering is a phenomenon that occurs when photons of light penetrate the outer layers of the surface. It bounces around inside and then leave the surface to return back into the environment. It's a phenomenon that gives human skin a very translucent quality and adds to the realism when you do character models. So for sample on this particular model, you can sort of see the red quality in the ears. There's a strong light coming from the background that's sort of lighting up the ears and making it look like sort of thin cartilage. There is also sort this slight reddening here in the shadows.

When shading characters is just one of the things that really adds to the realism of the render. So you look in this setup of the actual scene here, add a strong light in the foreground, and then a directional light coming in the background. This directional light is lighting up parts of the surface and making it look semi-translucent. That's why I have another diagram here to illustrate the basics of how subsurface scattering works. Once again I have photons of light, some of them are being reflected back into the environment.

But if you can imagine that this here, there are several layers of a surface, you could see how some of the photons of light enter the surface, they bounce around a little bit and then they bounce back out again, back into the environment. This is what creates the subsurface scattering effect in the real world. As you'll see mental ray has a number of ways to create subsurface scattering effects. I've added it to this model of the teapot here and you can sort of see how in the shadowed areas we have this sort of luminescent red glow.

Actually, most materials in the real world exhibit some amount of subsurface scattering. The only ones that wouldn't be things like metal or rock where light just can't penetrate the surface. So it's another thing that you want to consider when you're developing your shader. If you're doing something like a candle wax or human skin or surfaces like jade, things like that, subsurface scattering under certain lighting conditions will really make your surfaces look much more realistic.

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This video is part of

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Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya

37 video lessons · 8016 viewers

Eric Keller
Author

 
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  1. 2m 19s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  2. 17m 49s
    1. Explaining diffuse reflections
      2m 39s
    2. Defining glossy and blurred reflections
      2m 32s
    3. Looking at refraction
      4m 20s
    4. Describing the Fresnel effect
      1m 56s
    5. Understanding anisotropy
      1m 10s
    6. Identifying ambient and reflection occlusion
      1m 49s
    7. Defining sub-surface scattering
      2m 4s
    8. Simulating translucency
      1m 19s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Using Maya's standard shaders with mental ray
      7m 2s
    2. Comparing mental ray and Maya shader nodes
      9m 12s
    3. Creating mental ray shaders
      2m 32s
    4. Making sense of mental ray shaders
      10m 35s
    5. Introducing the mia_material
      9m 16s
    6. Creating a custom mia_material preset
      9m 17s
    7. Looking at car paint materials
      6m 43s
    8. Using subsurface scattering shaders
      13m 33s
  4. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding UV coordinates
      4m 26s
    2. Comparing NURBS and polygon UVs
      4m 48s
    3. Mapping polygon UV surfaces
      13m 1s
    4. Using texture maps for color and other shader channels
      8m 1s
    5. Applying and projecting 2D procedural texture nodes
      4m 0s
    6. Applying 3D procedural texture nodes
      7m 1s
    7. Using ramp textures
      8m 12s
    8. Setting up utility nodes
      6m 29s
    9. Using file texture nodes
      9m 41s
  5. 22m 36s
    1. Applying the turbulence texture
      9m 37s
    2. Considering the round corners texture
      4m 17s
    3. Improving skin detail with ambient occlusion
      4m 27s
    4. Applying reflection occlusion
      4m 15s
  6. 33m 6s
    1. Painting bump maps
      4m 14s
    2. Creating normal maps
      5m 24s
    3. Applying normal maps
      6m 17s
    4. Creating displacement maps
      9m 14s
    5. Troubleshooting displacement maps
      7m 57s
  7. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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