Spider cuticle


I wanted to ask for opinions on this test render, specifically the spiders (the scene itself was just a quick thing to see how HDRI lighting would look rather than a lightbox).

Live reference:

I am trying to improve the red cuticle texture. I’ve been playing with the subsurface values and colour but can’t quite get the right look. These spiders do vary a little in colour in real life (e.g. if they have recently molted they are lighter, sometimes they are more orange than red depending on habitat, etc.).

Is there a way to figure out what subsurface values should be from a base colour? At the moment I am using 0.5/0.25/0.125 (I also tried 1/0.5/0.25 and it was much the same).

Another problem I can’t figure out is that in life these spiders are quite wet looking - my material already has very low roughness, high specular and also a clearcoat, and yet it still doesn’t look shiny enough. Is there a way to increase the apparent “wetness” of this?


Nice render!
A harsher light source might be better or make the model true to scale. Blender is good at scale, and it affects almost everything. Lighting will be more realistic that way.
IOR is another, look it up. Glass has a fairly high IOR, and thus makes things seem more bent through it.
Does removing the bump noise change anything?
Out of these, my personal guess would be, scale, lighting, and that bump. Color might be another, but you’ll need a stronger light to see.

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For increased “wetness”, consider mixing a Specular BSDF with your Principled

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I don’t think the problem is the material. The spiders in your references have big, white, rectangle light sources visible in their reflections. Try creating an area light in your scene to see if you can get a similar reflection from your models.


And additionaly don’t forget to add the peach fuzz with hair particles it sells the realism, and you are close enough with the materials…

Try using clearcoat instead of mixing an additional glossy/spec shader…

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Oh god, my pc is going to melt :smiley: . The node tree for the hairs is already mental, but you are right there needs to be some fuzz added.

Ah, I should have specified I am working in cycles. In Eevee I’ll just blast it with light and add bloom until my eyes burn out :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve tried another test render - adding light definitely improves things. I guess I underestimated how bright rings lights are on cameras!

I tried originally making this to scale, calculating subsurface scattering values etc., but I found Blender struggled with the tiny scale (for SSS) - this whole spider is only 2.8mm in size, and you end up with cuticle thicknesses of like 0.003mm. For IOR I used the value for water, as this seemed reasonable for organic things.

I tweaked around more with the SSS, adding some maps and also upped the brightness (this is just a flat plain with HDRI and an area lamp). I really don’t have a good grasp on how changing colours of SSS actually influences the render colour, so this was just lots of feeling around in the dark to try to get it closer to the photos.

I tweaked the colours of the red cuticle texture and then worked on the darker materials. This is what I have now in terms of the darker cuticle texture:

Basically I am just adding the cephalothorax SS map (to convey the underlying muscles etc.) and then I had to mask off the actual head and eye region as this was rendering in a yellowish hue.


I think it looks way better now! Congrats for finding it, colors are hard to match