Creating a good chrome/mirror look

SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
edited December 1969 in New Users

I have been playing with getting a good chrome type effect. I have just created a primitive and applied the standard DAZ chrome shader preset without tweaking any dials.

Are there any adjustments you'd suggest to improve on this? (for example, what about increasing "samples"? or does this just bump up render time for no gain?)

torus.jpg
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Comments

  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited March 2013

    The most important part of anything involving reflections is to have something for it to reflect. Whether that's a reflection map or actual geometry, without something to reflect it's going to look a bit flat and unimpressive. Here's a simple chrome shader when placed inside a skybox with a simple prop ground plane. Raytraced lighting will also help to improve the effect.

    Chrome.png
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    Post edited by Herald of Fire on
  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited December 1969

    The most important part of anything involving reflections is to have something for it to reflect. Whether that's a reflection map or actual geometry, without something to reflect it's going to look a bit flat and unimpressive. Here's a simple chrome shader when placed inside a skybox with a simple prop ground plane. Raytraced lighting will also help to improve the effect.

    Yes, right. But if you look at my image, you will see I surrounded it by plane primitives with a photo applied to give it something to reflect. Not sure what a skybox is, tho...

    How do I set "raytraced" lighting? Is that in the surfaces tab?

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,201
    edited December 1969

    A skybox/skydome are 'complete', enclosed spaces...a box and a dome...or a sphere.

    In your example, you've got 'sides' but no 'top' or 'bottom'...or no images on the top/bottom...hence the grey.

    Raytracing is 'on' but reflections need a bit more 'depth' than 1 or 2 (Max Raytrace Depth in Advanced Render settings...probably 4 would do it for the torus example). It can be turned off with the Uber shaders, but with the standard DS ones, it's on.

  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited December 1969

    mjc1016 said:
    A skybox/skydome are 'complete', enclosed spaces...a box and a dome...or a sphere.

    Presumably I could make one by creating a new primitive sphere and applying a sky MAT to it? I guess it would need ambient strength to light it, right?

  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited March 2013

    Sertorial said:
    mjc1016 said:
    A skybox/skydome are 'complete', enclosed spaces...a box and a dome...or a sphere.

    Presumably I could make one by creating a new primitive sphere and applying a sky MAT to it? I guess it would need ambient strength to light it, right?


    Ideally you want a split 50% ground, 50% sky. Also bear in mind that you need one of a decent resolution if you want the chrome effect to look detailed. The easier option without affecting your scene is to simply use a reflection map. The UberSurface shaders which come with Daz have an option for either raytraced reflections or environment mapped. Simply plug a sky texture into the environment map and render. For even better results, plug in a HDR TIFF file.

    To illustrate, one of the pictures below is raytraced, the other is environment mapped. See if you can guess which one is which.

    Chrome_1.jpg
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    Post edited by Herald of Fire on
  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,201
    edited December 1969

    The standard DS surface shader, if there is any strength at all in the Reflection channel will use either Raytrace or mapped...depending if there is a map specified.

    No map = Raytraced.
    Image map in reflection color = mapped.

    Image 1

    DS Default, Reflection strength 100%, skydome/floorm environmental lighting. Image applied to dome...

    Image 2

    DS Default, Reflection strength 100%, environmental lighting, Image applied to Reflection Color

    In the first image, you'll notice that the reflection includes the actual 'floor'...

    refmap.jpg
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    refray.jpg
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  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited March 2013

    Sertorial said:
    mjc1016 said:
    A skybox/skydome are 'complete', enclosed spaces...a box and a dome...or a sphere.

    Presumably I could make one by creating a new primitive sphere and applying a sky MAT to it? I guess it would need ambient strength to light it, right?


    Ideally you want a split 50% ground, 50% sky. Also bear in mind that you need one of a decent resolution if you want the chrome effect to look detailed. The easier option without affecting your scene is to simply use a reflection map. The UberSurface shaders which come with Daz have an option for either raytraced reflections or environment mapped. Simply plug a sky texture into the environment map and render. For even better results, plug in a HDR TIFF file.

    To illustrate, one of the pictures below is raytraced, the other is environment mapped. See if you can guess which one is which.

    I presume the right hand one is mapped (coz it's better!)

    But where do you put the environment map? In reflection colour?

    The standard DS surface shader, if there is any strength at all in the Reflection channel will use either Raytrace or mapped...depending if there is a map specified.

    No map = Raytraced.
    Image map in reflection color = mapped.

    Image 1

    DS Default, Reflection strength 100%, skydome/floorm environmental lighting. Image applied to dome...

    Image 2

    DS Default, Reflection strength 100%, environmental lighting, Image applied to Reflection Color

    In the first image, you'll notice that the reflection includes the actual 'floor'...

    I can't seem to get this to work as well as you. Here are my attempts,

    first a skymap and the default shader (with reflection colour at white 100%)
    second a skymap and the chrome shader
    third no skymap, but a map applied to the reflection colour

    chromes.jpg
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    Post edited by Sertorial on
  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,201
    edited December 1969

    Make sure that there is very little, if any Ambient Strength...0 to about 5%, in the item you want to be reflective.

  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited March 2013

    mjc1016 said:
    The standard DS surface shader, if there is any strength at all in the Reflection channel will use either Raytrace or mapped...depending if there is a map specified.

    No map = Raytraced.
    Image map in reflection color = mapped.

    Image 1

    DS Default, Reflection strength 100%, skydome/floorm environmental lighting. Image applied to dome...

    Image 2

    DS Default, Reflection strength 100%, environmental lighting, Image applied to Reflection Color

    In the first image, you'll notice that the reflection includes the actual 'floor'...


    Not exactly. What it's doing is actually tinting the reflections it receives with the colour on the environment map. It can give an interesting illusion that there's an environment map, but actual environment maps give superior results.

    To illustrate the point, here's a side by side comparison. On the left is an UberSurface Environment map, on the right is the Daz Default Material with the map plugged into the reflection colour channel. No other settings in the surface were changed, and all other functions unique to UE were disabled.

    You'll notice that the actual environment map is far more vivid. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it's using HDRI and therefore has a superior light range to work with. Secondly, it reflects light as if it were surrounded in a sphere of that material. On the left, what's happening is 3Delight is taking whatever reflections it receives and then tinting their colour to match the environment map.

    Chrome.png
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    Post edited by Herald of Fire on
  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited December 1969

    To illustrate the point, here's a side by side comparison. On the left is an UberSurface Environment map, on the right is the Daz Default Material with the map plugged into the reflection colour channel. No other settings in the surface were changed, and all other functions unique to UE were disabled.

    You'll notice that the actual environment map is far more vivid. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it's using HDRI and therefore has a superior light range to work with. Secondly, it reflects light as if it were surrounded in a sphere of that material. On the left, what's happening is 3Delight is taking whatever reflections it receives and then tinting their colour to match the environment map.

    Sorry, you've lost me a bit. Is the one on the left the one you are saying is better?

    I know how to do the one on the right (just put a map of, say, the sky into the reflection colour. But how do I do the one on the left? I have UberEnvironment2, is that what I use? Can you explain a little more for a dumbo like me?

    Thanks

  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited March 2013

    Another point about Sky Domes; they are not just a sphere with an image mapped to it. The normals have to be inverted or double sided for them to work as a sky dome as they enclose the other objects in the scene and the normals have to face inward.

    I agree that the one on the left definitely looks better here. I'm wondering if left means from the viewer's perspective or that of the characters in the scene.


    ... on looking at them both, I have to say, they each exhibit different characteristics... which is better is somewhat subjective in this particular instance.

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited December 1969

    Sertorial said:

    To illustrate the point, here's a side by side comparison. On the left is an UberSurface Environment map, on the right is the Daz Default Material with the map plugged into the reflection colour channel. No other settings in the surface were changed, and all other functions unique to UE were disabled.

    You'll notice that the actual environment map is far more vivid. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it's using HDRI and therefore has a superior light range to work with. Secondly, it reflects light as if it were surrounded in a sphere of that material. On the left, what's happening is 3Delight is taking whatever reflections it receives and then tinting their colour to match the environment map.

    Sorry, you've lost me a bit. Is the one on the left the one you are saying is better?

    I know how to do the one on the right (just put a map of, say, the sky into the reflection colour. But how do I do the one on the left? I have UberEnvironment2, is that what I use? Can you explain a little more for a dumbo like me?

    Thanks


    UberEnvironment is the lighting, UberSurface is a surface which comes supplied with Daz Studio.

    You'll have to plug a map into the Environment Map in UberSurface. UberSurface is a shader. You should be able to find it in either your Content Library or smart content under "Shaders". If you hold CTRL when applying it to a surface you can tell it to ignore the maps so that it doesn't overwrite any diffuse textures you have. If you have the upgraded UberSurface2, which is paid for, then it comes supplied with an 'upgrade' version which retains any settings you have on a surface while upgrading it to UberSurface.

    The picture illustrates what you need to look for in the UberSurface settings.

    Capture.jpg
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  • GeddGedd Posts: 2,444
    edited March 2013

    ..On the left is an UberSurface Environment map, ...You'll notice that the actual environment map is far more vivid...

    Ok, brain dyslexia... I was reading that backwards for some reason.. makes more sense now ;p

    Thanks for taking the time to go through this HoF, you're examples and explanations are good :)

    Post edited by Gedd on
  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited December 1969

    Sertorial said:

    To illustrate the point, here's a side by side comparison. On the left is an UberSurface Environment map, on the right is the Daz Default Material with the map plugged into the reflection colour channel. No other settings in the surface were changed, and all other functions unique to UE were disabled.

    You'll notice that the actual environment map is far more vivid. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it's using HDRI and therefore has a superior light range to work with. Secondly, it reflects light as if it were surrounded in a sphere of that material. On the left, what's happening is 3Delight is taking whatever reflections it receives and then tinting their colour to match the environment map.

    Sorry, you've lost me a bit. Is the one on the left the one you are saying is better?

    I know how to do the one on the right (just put a map of, say, the sky into the reflection colour. But how do I do the one on the left? I have UberEnvironment2, is that what I use? Can you explain a little more for a dumbo like me?

    Thanks


    UberEnvironment is the lighting, UberSurface is a surface which comes supplied with Daz Studio.

    You'll have to plug a map into the Environment Map in UberSurface. UberSurface is a shader. You should be able to find it in either your Content Library or smart content under "Shaders". If you hold CTRL when applying it to a surface you can tell it to ignore the maps so that it doesn't overwrite any diffuse textures you have. If you have the upgraded UberSurface2, which is paid for, then it comes supplied with an 'upgrade' version which retains any settings you have on a surface while upgrading it to UberSurface.

    The picture illustrates what you need to look for in the UberSurface settings.

    Oh wow! that's awesome! What else is uber surface good at? Should I use it on everything instead of the DS default shader?

    uber_surface_with_100%_reflection_and_10%_diffuse.jpg
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  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited December 1969

    I have the upgraded UberSurface2 shaders and I make no secret that I really love it. To say it's good for ALL surfaces would be a lie though. I also use pwSurface2 for a good number of things as well, as well as pwEffect. Poseworks really does have some simply amazing shaders for all kinds of purposes, so check them out if you're interested in getting new styles.

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,201
    edited March 2013

    You'll notice that the actual environment map is far more vivid. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it's using HDRI and therefore has a superior light range to work with. Secondly, it reflects light as if it were surrounded in a sphere of that material. On the left, what's happening is 3Delight is taking whatever reflections it receives and then tinting their colour to match the environment map.

    Are you using the same image in both?

    Remember, Uber anything is still 3Delight...you are making it sound like it's not.

    Also, no matter where the map is, if it is attached in any way to the reflection channel, it is NOT a raytraced reflection. HDRI doesn't matter...the default DS shader will accept an HDRI image...and any HDRI image, no matter what format it is in to begin with will end up the same after tdlmake runs on it...a tif image.

    The Environment map in US is not quite the same as plugging the same map into the reflection channel...but it's awfully darn close, because both use the same rsl code for the image files (or at least they appear to based on looking at the compiled code and rib files...so I'm about 95% certain the maps are the same).

    There is something else going on, though, as the maps are not oriented identically.

    Which one is US and which one is DS default?

    They are both using the same map (as a matter of fact, dumping the scene to a rib generates only one file name for the map). They are sitting right next to each other. You will also notice that neither is showing any other reflections...like each other, so yes they are both using 'mapped' reflections.

    refmap.png
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    Post edited by mjc1016 on
  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited March 2013

    The one on the left is UberSurface. You do seem to be correct, so perhaps I was hasty in my assumption. That said, the UberSurface version is noticeably superior and far more accurate than simply plugging a map into the reflection color channel. However, to use your sphere example, here's another example, both using the same TIF image. No prizes for guessing which one of these is UberSurface.

    Chrome.png
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    Post edited by Herald of Fire on
  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,201
    edited December 1969

    The one on the left is UberSurface. You do seem to be correct, so perhaps I was hasty in my assumption. That said, the UberSurface version is noticeably superior and far more accurate than simply plugging a map into the reflection color channel.

    Yep...the one on the left.

    The interesting thing is that between 140 and 150% Reflection strength they match (at least color/light intensities)..the one the right is at 140...I've been bumping it up 1% at a time and rerendering. It appears that there is something extra or the 'math' is different between them.

    Flipping to raytraced...you get some rather interesting things showing up...

    refray.png
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  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited December 1969

    I have the upgraded UberSurface2 shaders and I make no secret that I really love it. To say it's good for ALL surfaces would be a lie though. I also use pwSurface2 for a good number of things as well, as well as pwEffect. Poseworks really does have some simply amazing shaders for all kinds of purposes, so check them out if you're interested in getting new styles.

    I presume the only way to get UberSurface2 tho is to buy the $94 Uber shaders pack... a bit pricey for my limited budget

  • SertorialSertorial Posts: 748
    edited December 1969

    I have the upgraded UberSurface2 shaders and I make no secret that I really love it. To say it's good for ALL surfaces would be a lie though. I also use pwSurface2 for a good number of things as well, as well as pwEffect. Poseworks really does have some simply amazing shaders for all kinds of purposes, so check them out if you're interested in getting new styles.

    I see that on the UberSurface shader, you can plug the map into either the envirnoment map channel (as you suggest) or the colour channel.

    What's the difference? They look similar

    (or don't I need to worry about this level of detail?)

  • mjc1016mjc1016 Posts: 7,201
    edited December 1969

    I'm not sure. But what I do know...don't put it in both locations...that strange things.

  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,359
    edited December 1969

    Sertorial said:
    I have the upgraded UberSurface2 shaders and I make no secret that I really love it. To say it's good for ALL surfaces would be a lie though. I also use pwSurface2 for a good number of things as well, as well as pwEffect. Poseworks really does have some simply amazing shaders for all kinds of purposes, so check them out if you're interested in getting new styles.

    I see that on the UberSurface shader, you can plug the map into either the envirnoment map channel (as you suggest) or the colour channel.

    What's the difference? They look similar

    (or don't I need to worry about this level of detail?)


    In UberSurface, the reflection map does exactly as expected and does indeed tint the light based on the environment map. Here I used a red wallpaper in the reflection color map and an environment map plugged into the environment map. Reflection mode was set to Environment map. As a comparison, I've also included two others. One has the environment map on its own. The other has the environment map (a TIF file) plugged into the reflection colour. The one with mapped reflection color was set to raytrace because it would not render any reflection otherwise.

    All renders used the same light setup.

    UberSurface_Reflections.jpg
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