Lighting does not affect artwork that is black or white.

Fellow Artists,

My current work involves creating display packaging models in blender. I get either supplied artwork or have to make my own.

I have troubles when my artwork is pure black (0) or pure white (255). Lighting will not affect my objects.

I have a few workarounds:

  • in case of white or black use alpha transparent artwork and use diffuse shader underneath.
  • when saving artwork apply a levels correction first that eliminates pure white and pure black. (this however is a bad contrast example)
  • Use RGB Curves between nodes to clip black 0 and white 255.

Could anyone maybe explain to me if there’s a better way?
Because aforementioned solutions don’t really look realistic.

Included is the blend file
lion.blend (1.06 MB)
Also if somebody would take a look maybe have some idea’s to improve quality (or render speed?) to better simulate cardboard and what the settings would be for a white model (because in the blend the white model is just made grey and not pure white.)

You’re using a “pure” diffuse shader for that material. That results in a material without even the slightest specular or reflective properties. Combined with a 100 % black diffuse color, that material becomes effectively a black hole for any kind of light. A diffuse only material is per se highly unrealistic, as in the “real world” you will hardly find any material that does not reflect it’s surroundings to some degree.

Cycles’ shaders are very basic building blocks to create complex materials from and are (mostly) not to be used alone. Combine that diffuse shader e. g. with a glossy shader and a slight bump map and you will get something much closer to the cardboard look you’re after.