Silly Question, but how is this possible?

I’m not too unfamiliar with materials, but please someone tell me that (in the picture) is not possible just by slapping a material on a regular sphere. Yes, normal maps can fake geometry, and you could use a displacement map, but on a regular sphere, the displacement would only go in one direction, whereas those rings appear to have perfect geometry bilaterally.

Is there something about showcasing materials that I don’t know about? Thanks :slight_smile:

If you look really closely at the backfacing rings near the edge, it appears to be just displacement in the normal direction.

Here’s a rough 2 minute attempt in Blender using transparent. specular, diffuse, and height textures (box mapping to a sphere) - which gives a flat look.
The second image is a tweak of the textures (UV mapped to a plane, then warped into a sphere) with a Displace modifier using the existing height texture.

A few more rings with the Displace modifier:

Obviously you’d get much nicer results if you carefully craft the textures and material.

Sweet sasafras, you made that in TWO minutes O.O And I guess you’re right! It does appear to be a sneaky slight-of-hand (or eye, rather). Thanks so much for your super-informative response!

Quick question though! If it’s not too much trouble, could I ask you how you warped a plane into a sphere? I’d love to be able to do the same to showcase my materials :slight_smile:

:smiley: Thank you so much! Really great tut, too!