Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

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Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby ProtocolX27 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:15 am

Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

It's time, to explain the deranged madness behind all of the trial and error that has gone into the skin used in many of my renders. It's a complicated process and I can understand how difficult it can be to simulate something as complex as skin itself. The end result is still something subjective, but I'd like to at least share my process in hopes that it becomes less intimidating so that others will want to experiment and further improve the art.

Much of my work involves using the diffuse textures from DOA, any textures for your model will need to be changed accordingly, but at least with the knowledge of why things are done a certain way, you can change the necessary values to achieve a similar look.

Granted the desire is to make a realistic skin look, there are still subjective and artistic guidelines the affect the final outcome. My personal preference was to add skin textures, pores and blood vessels. That may appeal to some, it may not, but with techniques used, you can always build on them. Even more realism could be added if someone decided to simulate, hair, wrinkles, moles etc, but my motivation stops short of those. I've seen a fair amount of samples, and I wanted to make sure skin didn't have a silly putty or porcelain doll look.

Advantages
- Detailed, Natural Skin (within limitations)

Disadvantages
- Increase Processing Complexity/Render Time
- Trial & Error to Customize Values

Requirements
- A Mesh & Textures to Work With
- Desire to tinker with Nodes

Tips
- If experimenting, try outputing one specific section or area out to a Diffuse Shader or the final material especially when testing scaling or overlays. This will help improve desired results before connecting to other complex groups.
- Included mix masks were designed with DOA models in mind. You will need to customize your own masks if using a different diffuse texture.

Grouping
A: Diffuse
B: Normal Map
C: Bump Maps, Regular & Tiled
D: Blood Vessel Textures
E: Skin & Pore Textures
F: Subsurface Scattering for Skin
G: Subsurface Scattering for Blood Vessels
H: Final Mix


Node Road Map Reference
- I know the resolution on this is terrible. There are enlarged images of each section below.

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A: Diffuse

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This is the base color for everything. Nothing fancy just your primary texture which feeds a lot of everything done here.

B: Normal Map

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Not much fancy here either, but this feeds our normal map.

B1: The Glossy Shader is fed the color from the Diffuse and is then eventually mixed with oour near final product.

C: Bump Maps, Regular & Tiled

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This section contains 2 parts, a spec map which is normally the alpha channel of a diffuse texture for a DOA model, and a tiled bump map to give some texture to the skin.

C1: This controls the scaling of the skin bump map, this may require some adjustment for preference.

C2: The multiply blocks control the strength of each bump map, increase for stronger valeus and decrease for less noticeable bumps.

C3: Since the final node only has one Displacement socket, both of our bump maps need to be mixed. Use this final mix to determine how these are balanced.

D: Blood Vessel Textures

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Now the fun begins. This section focuses on adding blood vessel textures and mixing them with the original diffuse texture.

D1: Both textures use the same blood vessel texture, this could be customized. One is for red, the other is for blue.

D2: Since I use the same texture, both the scaling and rotation have been changed to add randomization.

D3: These values determine the strength of the Blood Vessel visibility. Change these to increase / decrease per red or blue value.

D4: The mask is used to identify areas to include/exclude the blood vessels altogether. For this mask, it is designed to reduce in the back/shoulder areas and eliminate completely in the neck area to provide a smooth blend with a face texture.

D5: Our original diffuse is now mixed with the colors for our blood vessels, but only in the general region declared by the mask.

D6: Our original diffuse is now mixed again the mixed version from D5, but only in the blood vessel patterns provided from D3

D7: The blood vessels are now mixed and will feed the skin/pore grouping.

E: Skin & Pore Textures

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This section adds pores and skin texturing. It uses the same techniques as D, but it uses to different textures as the source. The general idea is to mix our modified diffuse into each of our desired textures.

E1: This is our skin bump map.

E2: This is our scaling for the tiling of the skin texture. Change the Size values if you want the skin to appear larger or smaller.

E3: Strength value for the skin bump map. Change this for increase/decrease.

E4: This is our pore skin bump map.

E5: Like with E2, this controls the scaling. Change size to increase/decrease pore density.

E6: This controls the strength of pore bump map.

E7: This is our bump mask to declare regions that display our skin/pore detail. Like with D, the neck is not used to create a smoother blend, otherwise everything else will display lightly or more.

E8: Each of our textures our now mixed with our modified diffuse to add color to the textures.

E9: Each of our textures are mixed with the modified diffuse. These values control the mix strength.

E10: Skin and Pore diffuses are now merged.

E11: This is our final product before mixing SSS. You could stop here and run this to the final output if concerned with performance.

F: Subsurface Scattering for Skin

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Here's were we kick SSS into play. These have been standard for my preferences, but feel free to adjust these values to meet your preference.

General note, mix values should tend to be very low for each SSS node. If too strong the colors will dominate the output. These exist to give random color tones seen in skin from the skin itself and blood vessels underneath. It usually helps to have slightly wider radius values so the color tones are softer.

F1: Our near final diffuse is mixed with our Normal Map Glossy at this stage. Change the mix strength here.

F2: The color value here should match the overall skin tone of your character.

F3: The blue & red colors contribute to underlying color, these were just trial and error selections that I eventually stuck with. If you want to experiment, go ahead.

F4: This final glossy is added to give the skin a slight reflection. Do not mix this in with a high value. It can easily blow our the color tone if too strong.

G: Subsurface Scattering for Blood Vessels

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This section is optional, perhaps redundant even. This was added to soften the actual blood vessels so they didn't appear flat. This does accrue more SSS processing, so your preferences may dictate whether to include it or not.

G1: The output from the blood vessels are plugged into some Add nodes. These then act as strength / mask values for the SSS mixes.

G2: Our original diffuse is used to mix with the SSS of these values.

G3: Red & Blue SSS values are mixed with the original diffuse only in the locations of the blood vessel outputs.


H: Final Mix

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This is the final mix of the Diffuse from our Overall Skin & the Blood Vessel SSS. If you skip G, this will not be necessary. Scale the mix value back if you want to focus more on Steps A-F

Sample With Just Above Node Set

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Good Luck! As always, let me know if I missed anything or can clarify something.

Tutorial Files: http://www.mediafire.com/download/8c0eu ... 282%29.zip

I cannot take credit for much of the resources included. Some of the textures were from google searches or from DOA's actual files, so please be mindful of that before abusing usage of any elements included in the sample.
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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby semory » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:09 pm

cool thx i check it out

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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby Love2Raid » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:05 pm

Very elaborate tutorial, thanks! :thumbup:
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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby ProtocolX27 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:26 pm

UR VVelcome, :D

I hope it's helpful despite the layout, it's tough to make sense of the bird's nest worth of nodes, let alone organize them in a coherent matter. :feel: :lol:
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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby RoxasKennedy » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:35 am

Coolio, I'll def try this out.

Hopefully this won't make the skin so grainy like the other setups I have do :LOL:
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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby ProtocolX27 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:15 am

RoxasKennedy wrote:Coolio, I'll def try this out.

Hopefully this won't make the skin so grainy like the other setups I have do :LOL:


:high:

Well remember the SSS will increase graininess with lower Sample counts, so if you still run into that, you could still use all of the other texture details without the SSS attached. ;)
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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby schoolsucks » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:18 am

Would this setup be able to achieve something like this? http://urashima-taro.deviantart.com/art/Test6-549946862
You mentioned that your node setup allows for porous skin, so I was wondering to what extent the level of detail would be.

Do you know of other ways to make the skin more realistic, such as adding curves, dips, muscles, wrinkles, indentations, etc? For example, in this render http://urashima-taro.deviantart.com/art/mm-574958352, you can see how her skin is a lot more detailed than what comes with any XPS model. There are visible bumps, wrinkles, etc. I'm looking to emulate that level of detail. You're pretty much an expert on the matter, so I was hoping you could give a few tips/guides :XD:

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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby ProtocolX27 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:14 am

Sorry, I have tendency to forget to check these topics since there aren't posts very often.

I wouldn't call myself an expert, I'm still learning, and the examples you posted are mind boggling. I think those you posted blow mine away. I think they could be possible, but I don't know for sure how to implement them. I think those would definitely require some more enhanced displacement maps and mixing them in with the sub surface scattering. MR's eyes have some serious gloss in the reflection and I see a mix of glossy in the skin, but whatever that example has in the skin texture is amazing.
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Re: Blender: Superskin (Cycles) - ProtocolX27 Style

Postby Saskeni » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:19 am

This kind of skin effects can be achieved with the correct bump maps and specular maps setting/combination

but it will requires you to create those texture using the default DOA one as a base, so by doing this and combining it with Proto skin shader, i think you can come close to it
but it requires time and work :P

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