Cycles Skin Shader vs Sub Surface Scattering for realistic skin. Which is better?

Being a noob I’m learning about materials and have a character where I’m trying to get the best bang for the buck with a Cycles render of skin.

I’ve seen the SSS option in 2.69 and I’ve also seen the Cycles Skin Shader and wonder which is best. I don’t understand the difference between the two and why I would choose one over the other.

What I really need I suppose is a great tutorial on Cycles material settings for skin. Is there one out there?

Yes, that’s the one. So I gather Cycles Skin Shader takes SSS and builds upon it quite significantly.

The skin shader is a node group… so it is a collection of nodes put together to more physically represent what is going on with the skin… it simulates the different skin layers such as the subdermal and epidermal.

What i suggest is not just learning about skin shading, but cycles shading in general… how you can use it, how to tweak it… how to get the results you want, rather then learning just about skin shading…

I created that skin shader. It’s outdated at this point, new version isn’t ready for release yet, but feel free to ask me any questions you might have about it in a PM.