Realistic shader help

Hi I’m trying to make a realistic human head however ever time I try I seem to run into the same problems.
and I was wondering if any of you had any ideas on how to improve my skin shader or correct the problems I’m running into.

Main problems

Normal maps never seem to produce fine enough detail, especially when using sss (despite keeping the normal map
In a separate material using nodes and increasing the nor value)

Reflective and specula maps always seem to either have no affect or far to much with very little way to accurately
Adjust them (I’ve tried using the variables slider in the texture panel, is there something else I should be using)
and when using a map to control the spec/reflec value should the spec slider be set to 0 or 1

Displace maps seem to have the same problem as reflective and specula maps in that they either have to much of an effect or to little

The picture is still a work in progress so please ignore the lack of eyes and poor texture on the lower neck and torso

Thanks for looking

i put this in the wip section becuse i intend to continue improveing it; so sorry for starting this thread
as though it should be in the help section


There is a thread in Blender Tests that has been running for a while. It is well worth looking at.

wait woa, that model is very well done. Can I see the shader in different lighting setups? Its hard to judge with only one pic

ure good :smiley: …can we see some different angles…and i dont know about ure problems …sorry :frowning:

Normal map needs to be cranked, sometimes as high as 20 and when using nodes, I usually have the normal/bump map applied to every material in the node setup at an equal value on each one.

Specular maps - the best way to change this is using brightness/contast in photoshop on the spec map. You should end up with a dark grey map with lighter grey around areas like the lips and such. Changing the slider value in blender changes how much the map totally controls the spec (black = no spec, white = full) and how much the spec sliders totally control the specular. ie. If the map is set to 1.00, the spec sliders will have no effect on the intensity of the specularity, just other things like hardness, spec type. If the map is set to 0.50, it will be an average between the spec settings and the overall effect of the map.

Displacement maps I find it much easier to use the displacement modifier. Depending on how you generated the map, you may need to fiddle with the ‘midpoint’ value to figure out what value is middle grey - ie no displacement. You probably don’t want a value far off of 0.100 for the amount of displacement, or at least that is around the mark for me when using maps created in Zbrush.

is this for the game engine???

do you have a wire frame for this?

Thanks for the link it was an interesting read

Thank you, ill put the shader up later but I don’t have access to the .blend at the moment.
Its pritty much a just 3 layer sss set up similar to the set ups in the thread organic posted.
Bigger pic below sorry its still dark and the same angle but as I said I cant access the ,blend at the moment.

Blender spartan:
Thank you
Ill post some up when I can

Ben Dansie:
Thanks for the advise.
I’m currently using a normal map set at around 15 on the slider, any higher and it distorts the over all model.
However I am still having problems seeing the finer detail.
are there any other ways to increase the smaller bump detail with out distortion of the models shape, or do you
Think I need to generate a new normal map.

How do I change the midpoint value?
or is that the same as the disp value?

Thanks again for the help.

logun white321:
no its not for the game engine.
see below.

here is a wire frame and a larger picture.
i will get some different renders at different angles and better lights when I get back to the .blend
Thanks for the help.

Has any one ever had the displace button disappear from the texture panel?


Scale becomes quite important with the bump map. ie A 2048px bump map will show up much stronger than a 4096px map. You could perhaps (if using a 4096px) resample to make a smaller one, in which case the slider does not need to be up as high.

However - you keep referring to ‘normal’ map, in which case I guess you mean the blue-multicoloured actual normal maps. In this case, it is more likely that you will need to re-do the map as the ‘Nor’ slider won’t do all that much to help.

That is a link to Photoshop plugins that can change the overall strength of a normal map without re-doing it.

Midpoint value of the displacement map can only be changed by using a displacement modifier on your mesh.
Be warned - turn the ‘disp’ slider completely to 0 in any material settings otherwise the modifer and the material displacement will double up which is obviously not what you want.

Thank you for the help
Using the displace modifier rather than the displace button in the texture panel
has really helped.

I tried that plug in but I’ve found it easier to just redo the normal map using the zmapper

I think I may have fixed the fine detail with the new map however I am still finding it difficult to get the
Reflective and specula maps to have the desired results. (it seems to be bluring the map, i have tried removeing the
minimap and useing a mitch filter to render with rather than the defult gauss;
which did help slightly but it still looks blured :spin:)

Thank you again for your help

Ill post up some more images once I have tried out a few more material changes