Cycles - SSS Skin Shader

For the last few days I’ve been testing Cycles, which is a fairly a new unbiased CPU/GPU path tracer renderer for Blender, available alongside Blender’s internal engine. When combining its speed with the flexibility of Blender’s Shading node editor, it becomes a serious contender to Vray, Arnold, Keyshot, Octane or Corona, plus it’s Open Source and free.

While Cycles comes with basic shaders like Diffuse BSDF, Subsurface BSSRDF, Glossy BSDF (including the GGX Shading Model), etc, to create realistic materials you have to combine these together into more a complex Shading Group. Once created, this Shading Group can be easily reused and shared between scenes, and can be controlled with a set a variables that you decide to expose to the end user. 

In this example I am mixing together two Subsurface shaders, a Diffuse shader, and a GGX Gloss shader. To get a red scattering lobe, I am overlaying the color inputs of the SSS shaders with two complimentary colors, slightly weighted towards red, and I am using two different scattering radiuses to simulate two skin layers. For the specular component I am remapping the fresnel node to allow individual control over the F0 and F1 parameters. 

I would like to thank Ten24 for providing this model.


Update (8-8-2016)

Skin Shader: I’ve added a simple scele with just the skin shader so you can use it with your own models. 


Skin Shader and Model: was very generous to give away a Blender Render Scene complete with a free Head Scan and the Skin shader above. You can find it here:

Vertex - Pattern Drafting in Marvelous Designer and Zbrush

If you are interested in pattern drafting for custom designs, then you can find an article I wrote in the latest edition of Vertex from Art By Papercut.

Vertex 3 is one of the best CG publications and it’s packed with learning content from professionals in the games industry.

You can download it for free at:

VRay - Physically Based Shader

I am currently working a Vray base shader for dielectrics and metals that has a similar response to the PBR implementations from Marmoset/Unreal/Substance. The purpose of this is to have a material that responds well in different lighting conditions, and that is driven by plausible parameters based on physical measurements. It currently supports both metallness/gloss and specular(F0)/gloss workflows, along with micro roughness control, and should make the texturing process a lot more easier and consistent between different projects.


Download: undoz_vray_PBR_simple_SHD.rar( Please note that this shader was created before Vray supported Maya’s color management system. That’s why the shader is setup with gamma correction nodes. You can either disable the color management, bypass the gamma nodes, or set the texture color space to raw. Edited: 8-8-2016 )

Usage: Import the shader through the Maya Hypershade window (File>Import). 

The shader is made for LWF (gamma 2.2) and supports both mentalness and specular workflows. The fresnel component is remapped to allow full F0-F1 control, and the F1 component is sensitive to glosiness changes to account for the microfacet normal changes.