Creating reflective surfaces
Video: Creating reflective surfacesAs pretty much every material in the world around us has at least some level of reflectivity, there is a very high probability that when we want to create realistic-looking materials then we will spend at least some time on each project working inside the Reflection controls of the V-Ray standard material. In this video, we're going to continue working with our floor material and show you how you can add reflection controls to that material in the V-Ray Material Editor. We also want to work with the controls given us to at a level of realism, a level of believability to our reflections that may not be there initially.
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Create highly realistic 3D architectural drawings with V-Ray, a popular third-party renderer for SketchUp. This course shows how to take a single scene with interior/exterior elements and add lights, move cameras, and enhance objects with translucent and reflective surfaces. Author Brian Bradley explains concepts like irradiance mapping, perspective correction, and fixed rate sampling, while showing how to leverage each of the V-Ray tools and its material and lighting types to achieve specific effects.
- Installing V-Ray
- Creating natural daylight with V-Ray Sun and Sky
- Bouncing light around with irradiance mapping and light caches
- Setting up a depth-of-field effect
- Creating diffuse and reflective surfaces
- Working with the Adaptive DMC engine
- Manipulating color mapping
- Adding caustic lighting and occlusion effects
Creating reflective surfaces
As pretty much every material in the world around us has at least some level of reflectivity, there is a very high probability that when we want to create realistic-looking materials then we will spend at least some time on each project working inside the Reflection controls of the V-Ray standard material. In this video, we're going to continue working with our floor material and show you how you can add reflection controls to that material in the V-Ray Material Editor. We also want to work with the controls given us to at a level of realism, a level of believability to our reflections that may not be there initially.
As you can see, the start scene for this video has been upgraded a little. We've used the same process as with our floor material to essentially apply the diffuse components to all the objects in the scene: some are using bitmaps and some are using straight colors inside of the materials. Now if we were to take a render at this moment in time, we would see that whilst our diffuse maps and colors really do help us see perhaps what type of surface we're meant to be looking at-- they definitely give us the overall color scheme for our environment-- Still we would feel that there was something lacking in terms of believability in the materials.
This would be because there is no reflectivity applied to any of them at this moment in time. So let's change that by adding a Reflection layer to our Wood Floor material. To do that, of course we need to open our V-Ray Material Editor, so using the icon on the toolbar we can do that. We of course need to make certain that our Wood Floor material is the one selected; we don't want to add our reflection layer inadvertently to another material at this moment in time. And then with it selected, we can just right-click, go to the Create Layer option, and in the flyout we want to choose Reflection, and incidentally we get a Reflection layer added to the top of our Material controls.
Now a feature of the Material Editor that we can take advantage of right now is this Preview option. So if we click on this, we get a render of the material as it would appear in the scene at this moment in time, which as you can see, is perhaps not what we really want. We appear to have a fully reflective chrome-like material. This is because by default our Reflection layer is added with full reflectivity enabled. The level of reflection is controlled by this set of Reflection controls. We can control it by means of our color swatch.
We can use our Multiply value in conjunction with the Map Type as well, if we want to. Basically V-Ray uses a grayscale value to control or determine the level of reflectivity. So a completely white value, as you may have guessed, gives you a completely reflective material. If we set this to black, we would have a completely matte, non-reflective material. And naturally, we want to set a value somewhere in between those two extremes, so I'm just going to use the Value setting inside the Hue, Saturation, and Value spinners to set a value of 60 in here. As you can see, that updates the R, G, and B Channels automatically.
Now what we'll do, rather than using the Preview option in this instance, we'll go and take a render of the full scene so we can really evaluate how our reflections are working. Well, we can clearly see that we have reflections working on our floor material. We can even see the Bump map we added in our previous video at work and causing breakup in these reflections. However, we would still have to say that our reflections are definitely lacking a level of believability.
Two factors in particular are contributing to this. One of them is the evenness of the reflectivity that we see. In the real-world reflectivity, or the level of reflections that we see in a material, can often be governed by the angle at which we view a material. At this moment in time you can see we're getting a completely uniform level of reflectivity all across this floor, and that is not something that we're typically used to seeing. Fortunately, V-Ray gives us controls to handle this in the form of a Fresnel map type.
To add that map, we need to obviously open up our Material Editor, and in the Reflection controls, we need to come to our Reflection Options. If we click on the Map button we can come into our Texture Editor. And this time, in the dropdown list, we're looking for this TexFresnel node. In here, as you can see, we can control the level of reflectivity based on these two IOR values, and we also get a Grayscale control, a Grayscale slider, for handling the Perpendicular and Parallel level of reflectivity.
Now typically speaking, the Parallel option always works best when set at a very low value-- typically zero or something very close to it. In our case, it is the Perpendicular option that we want to change. So let's click on the color swatch, and in the Value this time, I'm going to drop the level of reflectivity down a little bit; in this case we're going to put a Value of 35 in here. With that done, we can click OK in the Color Swatch and OK in the Texture Editor, and once again go and take a test render just to see what a difference that was made to our floor's reflectivity.
Now as we don't need to render the entire image in this instance, I'm going to select the Render Region option in the V-Ray Frame Buffer and just select a Region and then go and click Render. Straightaway we can see that we get a more believable set of reflections now. We don't have that completely uniform spread of reflectivity right across our floor. Of course, things are still not looking quite as they should. We're not getting the type of reflections we would expect from the surface we're currently working with.
Our reflections are much too crisp, much too clean. Well, as you would perhaps expect, the V-Ray Standard Material gives us a set of controls that can fix that problem for us. So if we again come up to our Material Editor, this time we want, in the Reflection control rollout, to work with this Glossiness value. This essentially will allow us to blur out our reflections. At a value of 1 we get completely clean, completely crisp reflections. As we drop down this value, we will increase the level of blur inside of them.
Now you'll notice we have a Highlight and a Reflection control, so we can just blur the reflection or just the highlight. Typically, you will want to work with both of these in tandem, as it is not too often that you get a difference in the two. We can also use a texture map to control these Glossiness changes as well. Well, in the Glossiness Highlight and Glossiness Reflection parameter, I'm going to set the value of 0.85. Then we'll just Tab across add the same in there. And that should pretty much take care of our problem for us.
It is as easy as that to add blurry reflections into a V-Ray Standard Material. So once again we're going to want to test render and see how that has affected our reflections. Now you see we get the kind of scattered reflections that we would perhaps more typically associate with this type of wood flooring. And of course because of the Fresnel map we can see the level of reflectivity varying inside the image. In connection with our blurred reflections though, there is one other option that we probably need to take note of. Inside of the Reflection controls we have this Shader Type. At the moment it is set to Blinn.
The other two options in the dropdown will change the way our blurred reflections work. In fact, if we choose the Ward option, we will get very scattered, very blurred reflections. So as you can see, adding and controlling reflections in the V-Ray Standard Material is a reasonably straightforward matter. We can use not only grayscale values but also map types such as Fresnel to exercise a high degree of control over the look and feel of reflections in our material. And again, everything we've looked at in this video can be applied to the Reflection properties of most objects in our scene.
Well, time now to tackle yet another aspect of everyday material types, this time in the form of refractive materials.
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